Ceasing Sales of Atomic Design Paperback Version

Atomic Design has been on sale for about two and half years, and I’m making the decision to stop selling paperback copies of the book. You can still buy the ebook version of the book for 10 bucks in addition to reading the entire text online for free.

Why stop?

I’m absolutely thrilled with the process I used to create Atomic Design (if you’re interested, I wrote a detailed post all about it). In addition to writing the book, I self-published it and managed every aspect of the project. That included fulfilling all the paperback book orders. As I saw it, shipping the books myself was important for me to connect with the supporters of this project, and I liked the idea of carrying the DIY nature of the project all the way through to the end.

Fulfilling the books myself meant that every few days, myself and my brother stopped our development work, fired up Shopify, printed out invoices, stuffed envelopes, affixed shipping labels, and scrambled to get to the post office before they close at 4:30. We tackled all of this until very recently, when a friend stepped in and took over the operation.

Even with someone else managing the nuts and bolts, there’s still a lot of (real-life and mental) overhead that comes with the fulfillment process. I need to order shipping supplies and make sure my friend has what they need to continue to process orders. I worry about reordering books: it’s more cost effective to order 1,000 books at a time (economies of scale!) but then I’d worry that I’d be sitting on a chair made of Atomic Design books for the next 5 years.

Another huge aspect of the process is ongoing customer service. If there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that the world’s postal system is not perfect. I have to managed lost, damaged, or returned books in addition to invoice requests and other questions. It ends up being a lot to manage, and the time has come to stop managing it. (Side note: it’s really interesting getting really irate, combative emails from people, and then when I respond they say “Oh, I wasn’t expecting you would respond, Brad!” Just be nice to people, people.)

What’s next?

As I mentioned at the beginning of the post, the ebook is still on sale. and you can read the book online for free.

I also have a small number of returned paperback books that have slight cosmetic blemishes (like a dinged-up corner) but are all structurally intact. I’m selling those books for 10 bucks plus shipping if you’re really hungry for a paperback book. Once those are out of stock, that’s all she wrote.

Thank you!

I continue to be blown away by the response to my book. I’m so thankful to everyone who has bought a copy and helped spread the word. While the paperback version will no longer be available for sale, I’m hopeful the ideas contained in the book continue to help teams create and maintain successful design systems.