Saturday, October 27, 2012

10,000th Copy of "Ancient Landscapes" Sold At GCNP


Late on the afternoon of September 22 (or thereabouts), someone at Grand Canyon National Park bought the 10,000 copy of the book, "Ancient Landscapes of the Colorado Plateau". I don't know who that lucky person was, or where they live. But if there was any way that i could know, I would inscribe a most appropriate notation on the inside title page.

"ALCP" made its debut on bookshelves in October, 2008 to robust reviews. The book's "back story" however, is quite interesting. For years prior to its publication, I had been admiring Ron Blakey's paleogeographic maps and using them in the geology classes I taught at Yavapai and Coconino Community Colleges. Being a former student of Ron's at Northern Arizona University, I became filled with his infectious enthusiasm for rock strata and the ancient landscapes they reveal. I occasionally heard from Ron (and others) that he was about to publish a book containing the maps and always made it a point to ask him about it when I saw him at a professional meeting. All too often, he would relate his most recent publishing "detour". (He had three prior publishers lined up at different times and on one occasion was close to a deal with Oxford University Press). The only person more disappointed than Ron in hearing the news was myself, as I knew that his maps provided an excellent avenue for people to learn about geology and earth history.

Then in 2005, while attending the Annual Meeting of the Geological Society of America (GSA) in Salt Lake City, I saw Ron in the exhibit area of the convention floor. I had not seen him for a few years but once again asked him how the book project was coming along. He gave what was becoming an all too familiar look of disappointment and shuffled his feet and shook his head with disgust. Obviously, there had been another setback. I was disappointed once again to get the news. But then an idea came to mind! I was at the meeting to attend the professional talks and to promote and sign my new book, "Carving Grand Canyon". The book had been recently published by the Grand Canyon Association (the non-profit partner for Grand Canyon National Park) and I was aware that they were willing to consider other geology titles for future books. Within about 15 minutes of talking to Ron about a possible collaboration, the idea for "ALCP" came to light that moment in Salt Lake City.

It took three years to write new text and to design the book (beautifully executed by Ron Short). But by the time GSA held its Annual Meeting in October, 2008 in Houston, Texas, Ron Blakey and I were doing our own book signing on the convention floor.

Book signing at the GSA Annual Meeting in Houston, Texas in October, 2008

"Ancient Landscapes of the Colorado Plateau" is selling as well or even better now as it was on the day it was published. Both Ron and I are appreciative of the support that the Grand Canyon Association gives us and remain gratified that so many professionals and lay persons alike are benefiting from the story it tells. It is an amazing work and I receive correspondence from readers all the time telling me how it has helped them "get over the hump" in learning geologic concepts. ALCP rocks!

1 comment:

Gaelyn said...

ALCP does Rock! So glad this book was published. I use it my geo talks and have helped sell a few of them at the NR GCA outlet.