Thursday 06/23/2016 by phishnet

FAQ: THE PHISH COMPANION, 3RD EDITION

TPC3 on tour!
TPC3 on tour!

Image by Patrick Jordan

So you’re publishing a book? What is it?
It’s a bound volume full of pages with words and images and charts. But that’s not important right now.

They still have those?
Believe it or not, something like 300,000 new books go into print and over 2 billion books are sold in the U.S. every year.

Wow, that’s a lot!
Indeed. But if you like Phish, this book is the book for you. Total needle-in-a-haystack scenario.

OK, so seriously, what is it?
The first two editions of The Phish Companion (published in 2000 and 2004) were the best sources of comprehensive information about Phish. “Encyclopedical” was a word that had to be invented and dictionarialized just to describe them.

Anyway, if you’re a fan "of a certain age,” there is a pretty good chance you own one or both editions, or at least have seen one at your friend’s house, quite possibly while “dropping off the kids at the pool.” They were about the size of phone books, filled with setlists, text, and charts, all in tiny black-and-white print. The second one has a sea of bros on the cover. A brocean, if you will.

I’m intrigued. Like when Mike rings his fight bell.
That’s the spirit.

Can I camp next to my car?
I don’t know. These are FAQs about a book, not a Phish festival.

So this book is just like the other two, but updated?
No! This one is waaaay better.

Since pretty much everyone has instant access to the “everything” at phish.net, we knew we had to re-think all the thoughts that we had thunk in putting this 3rd Edition together. What makes a great book, in the smartphone era?

It’s still all about Phish, and there are still setlists and song histories. But that’s where the similarities end. And even those items are vastly re-worked and improved. Groomed, if you will, to best serve a fan base notoriously obsessed with good grooming.

We pulled out a lot of the fine print and data that you can easily get via your Apple Watch or Android Monocle. This made room for us to get up to date through Mexico 2016, and to add a ton of new content that is not available on the site.

Like…?
Like freshly manicured setlists and notes for every show. Updated song histories. Smooth integration of jam chart material. About 150 new show spotlights. Original longform features. Eight original illustrations from top artists in the scene. And a veritable cornucopia of amazing, previously unpublished photography.

I hope you didn’t crinkle the photos putting them in a cornucopia.
No, we carefully rolled them, and they flattened back out pretty good.

That sounds like a lot of stuff. How big is it?
898 pages, and 6.5" (w) x 9" (h), ~2" thick. It is big enough to squish a small rodent or mortally wound a large one. Don’t ask how we know that.

Dude. We’ve been waiting for this thing forever. Didn’t I try to buy it in like 2013?
Turns out it’s kinda tricky to crank one of these out, cough cough. But some interesting things happened along the way. Phish played some pretty decent shows. They did some incredible stuff over the past few years. Now we’ve got all that covered.

Plus, the delay caused us to take ownership and control of the whole process, which in turn allowed us to make creative and quality decisions that would never fly with a mainstream publisher. We found J2 Design - a top tier book design firm who gets Phish (their Creative Director has seen over 150 shows) - and put them to work for us and you, and not their bottom line. This thing looks and feels amazing. Top quality paper and binding, full color, incredible design, layout, and flow. Our Phish knowledge and archives, their design chops - this is a rad book in many ways.

You know what, I actually *did* try to buy it back then, and never asked for a refund. What’s the deal there?
If you pre-ordered through Phish.net, we’ve got you covered. You should have received an email to confirm your prior order. If not, email us at book@phish.net and we’ll get it straight.

You seem pretty high on this thing. Are you overselling it?
Imagine if a reference book and a coffee table book did the nasty. This is their intelligent, attractive progeny.

That’s really weird. I don’t want to imagine that.
Fair. Point is, it’s really, really nice. You’re going to want to buy or build a suitable coffee table just for your Phish Companion, 3rd Edition, if you don’t already have one.

Anyway, you keep saying “we.” Who are you again?
Nobody of consequence.

Come now, we must know.
OK, since you insist. “We” are the volunteers and friends of The Mockingbird Foundation - a 501©3 organization that exists to do two things: Crush Busch Light and pwn n00bs.

When we get bored with that, we do two other things. 1.) Develop and maintain intellectual property about Phish - the shows, venues, setlists, song histories, family recipes, etc. - at the phish.net website. And 2.) we raise money so that we can make grants to benefit music education for children - now over a million dollars in grants since 1996!

Wow, that is sporting of you. And this is starting to make sense…
The whole point of the exercise is to create something that every fan is going to love to have, and raise a pile of money for music education in doing so. All net proceeds - a nice chunk of each sale - will go directly to grants.

OK, I’m IN. Where can I get this bad larry?
Buying direct at https://phishcompanion.com/ is the fastest way to get it at the best price, and ensures that the largest portion of proceeds will go towards our charitable mission. It’s also available at drygoods.phish.com, and soon will be on Amazon.

143/245?
No, but $39 through our direct site is a helluva hookup for 898 full-color hardbound pages.

I tried to grab a couple copies for friends right when they went on sale, but no dice.
Sorry about that. We did have a glitch the first day with ordering multiple copies, but we got that fixed right away. If you have any issues ordering online, please e-mail Jamie Larson at Point B Solutions -jlarson@pointbsolutions.com - and he will fix you up right.

What if I want to take a look-see first?
WaterWheel will be displaying the book at their table at all shows, and keep an eye out for our Lot Team spreading the message in the ... umm … lots. (Probably don’t try to buy any oxygen tanks while you are out there.)

What should we expect for traffic?
Again, this is a book, not a festival. But we understand your confusion and concern. Some of those incidents were quite traumatic.

To address the question metaphorically: this, being a physical book as opposed to a vast network of electrons connected by a series of tubes, is available in a finite quantity. Act now, or soon, probably.

So you might run out?
Despite the infinite nature of the universe, our inventory is finite. So, yes, it is possible that we run out. We want to sell all the books as quickly as possible in order to cover our printing costs and to raise more money for grants. (We'd also strongly prefer that our garages store cars, bikes, and sundry garden tools rather than unsold books. Tarping the lawnmower in the front yard is rather unsightly.) That aside, if demand is strong, we might make more books. But not “infinity books.”

I live outside of the United States. Why do you hate me?
We don’t hate you, as far as you know. It’s just really expensive to ship stuff internationally and verify tracking. Our shipping partner negotiates the best deals they can. When we tested this by trying to privately send a book using the same method, it cost 3-4x more than the rates that come up fromhttps://phishcompanion.com/. We do regret that, but invite you to verify what it costs to ship 5 pounds of anything internationally, like a case of rice florentine or a taxidermied raccoon.

You might try networking through our forum or other social media to find a fellow fan who could send you a book via a slower, unverified, and possibly less expensive method. Or even meet you with one if you will be at any shows this summer. You can also check Dry Goods and Amazon, when they're available there.

How about an eBook?
Not right now, but we’re not taking it off the table for down the road. Kinda like the highly anticipated Gamehendge interactive CD-ROM.

Will you be actually slangin’ the real books on lot this summer?
Unfortunately, no. As fun as it would be, we couldn’t really get the logistics to work, and would have eaten a lot of money getting them around. Plus, you don’t want a veggie burrito stain on your new book, right? Right.

Any parting thoughts?
Just one: #READTHEBOOK!!!

If you liked this blog post, one way you could "like" it is to make a donation to The Mockingbird Foundation, the sponsor of Phish.net. Support music education for children, and you just might change the world.


Comments

, comment by aburtch
aburtch Easily the most hilarious FAQ I've ever read. Thank you.

"What makes a great book in the smartphone era?" is a great place to start for a book. And keep up the great work on crushing Busch Light and pwn n00bs.
, comment by glennw
glennw Thank you for producing this fine work, and satisfying your 'rents that you're finally doing something productive. For those of us who have not attained that lofty stature (and maybe still live in mom & dad's basement--I ain't sayin' who), and who may not be able to plunk down the coin in time to possess our own, will you be making copies available to public libraries who would be enlightened enough to procure it (I'm looking at you, bcpl.org)?
, comment by high_gear_nymph
high_gear_nymph First off, thank you for all of your hard work; we are all excited to get that big pile of glued papers that will transport us to gamehendge and phish stats heaven while simultaneously funding public schools with trombones violas and laminated pictures of music notes!

I thouroughly enjoyed your wit; the point of view, the segues book> camping> book> traffic hehehe and encyclopedial! Thats something to be proud of. From brocean to the seinfeld nod and your proper use of language and perfect representation of cadence. Love it love it.
I am the proud owner of a soon-to-be-in-my-hands-by-way-of-messenger-birds-in-flight copy and will share its contents and show off its robust binding on tour at various campsites. Squeeeeee!
, comment by johnnyd
johnnyd @glennw said:
Thank you for producing this fine work, and satisfying your 'rents that you're finally doing something productive. For those of us who have not attained that lofty stature (and maybe still live in mom & dad's basement--I ain't sayin' who), and who may not be able to plunk down the coin in time to possess our own, will you be making copies available to public libraries who would be enlightened enough to procure it (I'm looking at you, bcpl.org)?
This is a great point, and I for one don't see why this book couldn't have a place in virtually any or every public library. Or at least college libraries. Or ones in like New England and the west coast and other hippie enclaves.

Apparently there is some odd stuff with how libraries order books - through certain wholesalers. A very specific industry business model that I don't know anything about, but apparently a tough, low-margin market that is over our collective heads to try and reach, at least with our first printing of this edition.

That said, I imagine it can't hurt at all to go talk to your librarian, and at least ask them to order a copy directly from https://phishcompanion.com/
, comment by johnnyd
johnnyd Update on shipping:

Our distribution partner indicates that they fully expect all initial orders to ship by Monday 6.27. You will receive an e-mail when your order ships.

WooHoo.
Better get crankin on them coffee tables.

Hmm. Should I have phrased that in the form of a question?
, comment by johnnyd
johnnyd @high_gear_nymph said:
I am the proud owner of a soon-to-be-in-my-hands-by-way-of-messenger-birds-in-flight copy and will share its contents and show off its robust binding on tour at various campsites. Squeeeeee!
Most excellent! Your show-offitude and word-of-mouth will be yuuuuuuuge for us and is tremendously appreciated!
, comment by Jophis
Jophis Where can I get an Android monocle?
When I get my copy of The Book, will the shows that I've attended be highlighted in blue? Or do I have to wear an Android monocle for that?

Also, PSYCHED for this...
, comment by YEManders
YEManders "I live outside of the United States. Why do you hate me?" Was literally my thought last night when about to order the book and then the shipping cost popped up. Holy hell. In Canada, we don't get much phish! Next paycheque I'll be ordering... hope they don't get snatched up too quick!
, comment by dusty_reels
dusty_reels Best. Father's. Day. Gift. Ever.
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