Somewhere in the process of writing The Starving Artist’s Diet I decided that I should make a collector’s cereal box as a gift and marketing tool for the book. After listening to a speech by Seth Godin, I was motivated to create the cereal box as an added incentive. Godin talks about how books today are more of a collectors item than something to read because now there are so many forms of media available to the reader. Anymore, voracious readers are buying books for their e-readers. If they buy a bound copy, it’s more likely there for display. What Hugh MacLeod calls a social object.
That was my desire. Create a cereal box for the book (appropriate because the book spoofs diet books and as with so many of the diet books on the shelf there is actually a corresponding line of food products) in which the book would be delivered. Ideally, someone would get the box and display it on their desk or bookshelf. Then when someone would stop by, they may ask about the book. The result is a conversation (although brief) about the box and book.
What I found in my pursuit to make my cereal box was that it is nearly impossible to create a limited number of cereal boxes for a reasonable price. I called the big guys who make boxes for Kellogs, Kashi, General Mills, etc. and they told their minimum run was 10,000 boxes. I didn’t even make that many books.
I forged ahead by contacting local printers. After consulting a friend, I concluded that all I really needed was a color print on a 21×13 posterboard. Apparently printers don’t like to print on poster board. Some were willing to do 11×17 card stock, but that was too small. I went to places like Stapes, and FedEx and was quoted around $15 to print on the larger format but not posterboard. And then I’d still have to use spray adhesive to attach the print to a posterboard. That wasn’t easy!
I also called mid-size printing companies and was quoted $14 per box. I was getting closer, but at that cost, I was not going to be making many boxes.
So finally I went to Costco. I’m pretty sure I was there for the selection of free samples passed out by the blue hairs, but what I found was that Costco could make a 16×20 poster for $5.99. Amazing. The only problem was that I still need to attach the print to a posterboard, cut it out, score the folds, fold it, and glue it all together. Trust me, that’s a lot of work.
Are you thinking of making a cereal box? Okay, probably not, but if you are, weigh your costs before making promises. When I promised cereal boxes to people, I had no idea I could be forking out close to $20 per box, and I didn’t even think about shipping. I often have plans that far outweigh my budget. This was a case in point.
In the end, the box has turned out nicely. If you think you might want a book in a Starving Artist’s Diet cereal box, you can order one for $55 which includes standard media mail shipping. Considering the time and effort that goes into making this creation, The Starving Artist’s Diet cereal box and book will be highly collectible because there will certainly be a limited number made.