Unshelved comic strip for 11/2/2014

Reads Well With Others

Watch the cover get drawn

Throughout our recent Kickstarter we teased the upcoming eleventh Unshelved book. Now we can finally reveal the title and cover. Please welcome Reads Well With Others, our first full-color collection!

We think the cover came out particularly well, and we wanted to let you into our design process. Because I'm the road, Gene and I did all this while he was in Seattle and I was traveling through the American Midwest. We communicated through a series of screenshots, which I saved and then assembled them into the animation you see above.

  1. We brainstormed a half-dozen titles. We had actually settled on a different title, but we couldn't come up with a matching image that we liked. Eventually we changed the title to Reads Well With Others, for which a Tamara storytime was a given.
  2. I threw together a title treatment for the cover so we knew what kind of space we had to work with.
  3. Gene came up with a few dozen ways that a storytime could go wrong.
  4. I went through several sketches of Tamara, eventually ending up with her in the foreground with a defined area for the children's section. My job was to fill this with as many elements of Gene's list as possible.
  5. I drew perspective lines to a vanishing point. I used this to get the furniture and books looking right. Perspective is one of those things that you don't notice when it's right, but it instantly jumps out at you when it's wrong.
  6. I did a very quick layout sketch of many of the characters from Gene's list, and sent them to him. He suggested that we could nudge Tamara to the left and make room for another element: a kid pouring a sippy cup into the ear of the sleeping girl. He also didn't like Dewey just hanging out at the reference desk, so he suggested that Dewey was dealing with a runaway baby. I realized that this could be Trillian, leaving a trail of goldfish behind her.
  7. I inked and colored Tamara, then did the same for each of the individual elements. They each got their own layer in Photoshop, making it easy to position them just right.
  8. I added shadows to the characters, giving them some depth.
  9. Gene and I mucked with the colors. Not shown here: the hot pink version of the title. Well, it was worth a shot.
  10. I nudged the titles, subtitle, and bylines until they felt right.
  11. The books in the bookshelves seemed too flat, so I added shadows to them too.

With that the front cover was done. We then went through a shorter process for the back cover, which you can see on the store page. Then I layed out the interior pages, ran them by our ace copyeditor Rob Hurvitz, and sent them off to the printer.

The books are scheduled to be delivered to Seattle by the end of November, and Jana will start shipping them out shortly thereafter.

  • Since I won't be in Seattle to sign them, the first 250 copies will come with a Reads Well With Others postcard signed by Gene and me, with a custom doodle by me.
  • Sorry, no artist editions this time!
  • You can order them today from our store
  • If you are one of the many backers of our Unshelved Goes Digital Kickstarter, you can add a print copy to your order. Look for email from us on how to do this, coming your way later this week!
  • Ebook coming soon, natch.
  • Libraries will be able to order copies from all major wholesalers, starting in a few weeks.
  • We will also have copies for sale at Midwinter in Chicago.

We hope you love our new book as much as we do!

This classic Unshelved strip

originally appeared on April 4, 2004.

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Our next appearances


October 8, 2018 Walla Walla, WA
Walla Walla Rural Library District Staff Day (Gene)

November 15, 2018 Palm Beach, FL
Palm Beach County Library System (Gene)

November 16, 2018 Fort Lauderdale, FL
Southeast Florida Library Information Network (Gene)


Jan 25 - 28, 2019 Seattle, WA ALA Midwinter (Library COMIC Booth #726) (Gene)

March 1, 2019 Phoenix, AZ
Maricopa County Library District (Gene)

April 15 - 17, 2019 Austin, TX Texas Library Association Annual Conference (Library COMIC booth, Monday night event) (Gene)

June 21 - 24, 2019 Washington, DC
ALA Annual (Library COMIC booth) (Gene)

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