BTRIPP (btripp) wrote,
BTRIPP
btripp

Wow ...

OK, so I'm impressed now! I'm sure my blithering on about LibraryThing.com has gotten to the point where it's as irritating as my eBay/Pokemon screeds (and I'm thinking of making this icon my "here comes another book blither" warning flag, like how my "comicbook hero" icon flags my eBay/Pokemon rants), but I've been messing with it a lot of late.

What is "wowing" me is that it managed to pull up the files for dozens of quite obscure "books" from both the Institute for Cultural Research and Designist Communications! These are two groups affiliated with the late Idries Shah's "Institute for the Study of Human Knowledge", ICR focusing on papers in general cultural topics, and Designist featuring research pieces in Sufi studies. The early ICR monographs (from the 70's) were legal-sized sheets, printed on one side (and as often as not just typed instead of typeset!), and "bound" with black tape, some as few as 6-8 pages long. I was sure that I was going to have to manually enter all the info on these, but to my amazement, each and every one eventually came up in the search thing! I worried too that the Designist "chapbook" format was likely to make it hard to find, but again, all came up in the search. Now, I don't know if this is purely due to "fancy searching" by LibraryThing, or if I should be really impressed with ISHK/Octagon in pushing these obscure titles into the Internet data stream. Frankly, I'm amazed that they've kept these in print ... the early ICR Monographs appear to have been printed versions of talks in the early 70's ... the first nine were from 1971, and they seem to have come out one or two a year thereafter. Only a handful of either series (and I just logged in 26 of the ICR monographs and 15 of the Designist books) had ISBN numbers in the editions I have (although it appears that Octagon has updated all those with ISBNs now), so I'm impressed that all those were "found" when I put in their title/author info!

It was quite a "memory event" looking at those books again. A lot of the "inspiration" for me to take Eschaton Books from my own "vanity press" (which published a few dozen editions of my poetry) to a "real publisher" was the ICR/Designist books. Here were serious esoteric studies, presented without any bells and whistles, and I really wanted to be able to do something similar. In fact, that's the reason that several of our initial publications were in the "chapbook" format, I figured that if it was good enough for Idries Shah, it should be good enough for me ... unfortunately, I soon found out that it wasn't "good enough" for the distributors/wholesalers/retailers in the Book Trade ... I guess if one is Idries Shah one can "get away" with chapbook editions, Eschaton had to quickly move into glossy-covered perfect-bound editions, in order to get the books carried by anybody!

Still, looking at these, I wanted to start up the publishing biz all over again. One thing that got "lost in the shuffle" was doing a series of lectures (which would then be published ala the ICR monographs), and "Eschaton Events" was pretty much a still-born division of the company (we co-developed one big event, but long-time readers of this space will recall that was pretty much the final coup de grace for Eschaton when it imploded at the last minute in the summer of '01).

Oh, well ... with the addition of C8-S1-B(01-72), I'm up to having 172 books logged in. I have "clear access" to C8-S2 (which looks to only have about 40 books on it), so that might yet get done tonight ... before I have to start "excavations" to get down to C8-S3 and C8-S4!

Books ... they're not just for breakfast anymore!


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