Back in 2018 when I published my book about the history of Star Wars Galaxies I was very conscious that I was treading a thin line with regards to making the book look as professional as possible without it appearing to be an official, licensed publication. There are of course obvious things to avoid when it comes to this sort of thing, but there are also no firmly established guidelines as to what you can get away with. More so than the interior content of the book, the cover art is a primary area of concern when it comes to avoiding unwanted attention from IP holders, and myself and Simon Bennett – who illustrated the first edition’s cover art – went to significant lengths to evoke imagery from the game which Star Wars Galaxies players would recognise, but which fans of the wider Star Wars IP would not. Similarly, I felt that the comic book aesthetic aided in the obviousness of it being a fan publication.
For two years it seemed that the above assignment had been nailed, but late in 2020 the book abruptly vanished from the Amazon storefront. Earlier this year I received several emails from Amazon communicating the reasons behind their removal. To avoid getting into any unnecessary legal hot water I won’t go into any further detail with regards to this. Needless to say, I’m not the first person to have trouble with their videogame fan publication, nor will I be the last.
I had considered letting sleeping dogs lie with the knowledge that most people who wanted a copy would have gotten one during the book’s first print run, but throughout this year I’ve had quite a few people messaging me to say they would still love to buy a print copy. Well, I’m happy to announce that the book will be available again from next month.
To make the book more obviously unofficial I’ve designed a very minimalist new cover art and have given the book a new title. The interior however remains unchanged save for a new editing pass. Therefore those who have already purchased the original book will have no need to repurchase the new edition. I’ve always been adamant that I didn’t want early copies of the book to become obsolete with later editions and that if I had new stuff on the game that I wanted to write about then it would be in an entirely new book (or on this blog). Some of the information towards the latter end of the book where I discuss the emulation scene has become a little outdated now, but that’s just a fact of physical publication and regardless, it accounts for a small and really quite insignificant part of the book.
I loved the book’s original name and I especially loved its cover art, but sometimes compromises are necessary in this game and I’m happy that people will once again be able to put this thing that I spent two years of my life writing up on their shelves. The new name also places the book within the new “The MMO Folklorist’s Guide to …” imprint under which I will publish future yet-to-be-announced titles in the coming years.
A release date and accompanying press release will follow sometime in the coming weeks, but rest assured the book will be available once again before the game hits its 10-year deathiversary on December 15.