When I put my book up for sale, I thought it would be neat to offer the option of a signed copy to people who ordered in the first 24 hours. It was a popular option (more popular than we expected), and some people are wondering why they took so long to get there (most should have arrived last week, the last few American copies should have arrived by now, and overseas orders will be shipping outas soon as I finish signing them). I had put a note on the order page warning that the signed copies would take longer to ship; if anyone’s interested in why they took as long as they did, here’s the story:
The regular copies were shipped immediately, and continue to ship on time. The people who ship the books get them out fast — orders are generally shipped within 36 hours of when we get them. The signed books started shipping out within a few days of the initial sale, and generally arrived promptly. The books were being printed right up to the publication date, so I didn’t actually have a large stock of them beforehand. Since I had no idea how popular the signed copies would be, I put up a note saying that the signed books might take longer to ship, since I’d be signing them after they were ordered. This meant they had to be shipped to me first, before going to the shipping people. It turned out (to my delight and horror) that they were extremely popular, and we had to raise the price just to make sure there wouldn’t be more orders than I had time to sign.
Since I was going on the book tour soon after the book went up for sale, we had the bulk of the books sent out to the reddit offices in San Francisco. For the week after my book tour, I sat up late at one of their desks signing books (and working my way through the entire run of The West Wing). I got all those signed by the end of the week (leaving an impressive callous on my right middle finger) and left the reddit office full of boxes for FedEx. They picked them up Monday the 28th and took them to the shipping place in Virginia. Because of the weight, they had to go ground, so they took all of that week to go there. Those books shipped out within 36 hours of arriving, so they should have arrived late last week.
I got back to Boston, and later that week the next set of books arrived there. I signed a large set of those, which finished off the US orders, and they went to the distribution office for shipping out sometime last week. For the last week, I’ve been signing boxes of mainly European orders (followed by Australia and other overseas, which take longer to ship), and I should be finishing those up in the next handful of days. Then there’s a four-or-five day delay as they’re sent to the shipping people (too heavy to send by anything but FedEx Ground), and they’ll go out then. I apologize to anyone whose signed books took longer than they expected to arrive. If you have any questions or problems regarding your order, email email@example.com.
Thank you so much to everyone who ordered a book. If you’re interested, there are some pictures of the xkcd school site in Laos over on the BreadPig blog.