Dynamist Blog

In 2020, a Book Tour Means Never Having to Leave Your Kitchen

To promote The Fabric of Civilization, I've been doing lots of podcasts and Zoom talks from a makeshift studio in my kitchen. I use block-printed fabric I bought in India as a backdrop to cover the doors to my washer and dryer. You can get an idea of how it looks from these screen shots of a Zoom talk, one where I'm sharing my screen and one where I'm answering questions, or check out the video at the end of the post.

Podcasts have replaced radio interviews as the book tour's bread and butter publicity, and I've been doing loads of them. They're generally a satisfying experience, because hosts have read the book and you can have a real conversation. Check these out:

a16z with Sonal Chokshi: "Textiles as Tech, Science, Math, Culture… or Civilization" Tech-oriented podcast hosted by the Andreesen Horowitz venture capital firm.

The Woven Road with Meadow Coldon: "The Fabric of Civilization, Interview with Virginia Postrel" Podcast hosted by "an inquisitive, knitting archaeologist in exploring the rich fiber art traditions from across history and around the world."

init with Dave Birnbaum: "Textiles and Tech" Podcast about the "tactile internet."

EconTalk with Russ Roberts: "Virginia Postrel on Textiles and the Fabric of Civilization" Economics podcast


The Reason Interview with Nick Gillespie: "Virginia Postrel: When Calico Was Treated Like Cocaine" Wide-ranging interviews with a libertarian slant

Virtual Memories Show with Gil Roth: "Virginia Postrel" Podcast "about books and life," focused on writers, artists, and comics creators.

The Bookmonger with John J. Miller: "The Fabric of Civilization by Virginia Postrel" Short interviews about books, produced by National Review.

The Curious Task with Alex Aragona: "Virginia Postrel—How Do Textiles Shape Society?" Philosophy, politics, economics, and other ideas from a classical liberal perspective.

Alain Guillot: "Virginia Postrel, How Textiles Made the World" Personal development, personal finance, entrepreneurship

How to Get a Signed Copy of The Fabric of Civilization

Under normal circumstances, I'd be planning extensive travel and many in-person talks to promote The Fabric of Civilization when it comes out November 10. Instead, I'm doing Zoom appearances and podcasts. Knowing they won't be seeing me in person, several people have asked how they can get a signed copy. There are two options:

1) Pre-order a copy from any of the links to the right or buy it from your local bookstore. Email me at vp at vpostrel.com with the receipt, your address, and the name you want the book inscribed to and I'll mail you a signed bookplate.

2) Pre-order a copy through Chevalier's Books in L.A. When they receive their books, I'll sign them and they'll mail your copy to you. It will not, however, be personalized. If you want a particular name as part of the inscription, you need to get a bookplate.

Early Readers Love THE FABRIC OF CIVILIZATION!

I'm thrilled to see how enthusiastic early readers are about The Fabric of Civilization. Check out the early praise on the book's Amazon page and pre-order to get your copy on publication day!

The blurbs on the Amazon page were solicited from well-known experts in history, technology, and innovation. Fiber artists have also been praising the book. One of my favorite reviews comes from the supersmart weaver and color expert Tien Chiu, writing on her blog

I’ve also finished reading a fabulous soon-to-be-released book by Virginia Postrel. It’s The Fabric of Civilization: How Textiles Made the World, available for pre-order from Amazon. I got my hands on a review copy from Virginia, and I have to tell you, it’s one of the most fascinating and compelling books I’ve ever read on the history of textiles. If you thought Elizabeth Wayland Barber’s Women’s Work: The First 20,000 Years was interesting, you’re gonna swoon over this one. I think it’s actually even more interesting than Barber’s book. Run out and preorder your copy now. (I’ll write a more detailed review later, once it gets a bit closer to release.)

Thanks to NetGalley and Goodreads, the book has also gotten a couple of five-star early reviews from grassroots readers who read and review a lot of books. (In other words, my publisher and I don't know these people.) Here's an author's dream (if not a copy-editor's) from :

Breathtaking work of non-fiction!!! I didn't have such a thrill reading a research for a very long time. Both extensive historical research and master storytelling makes this book a hidden art.
Taking into consideration all parts involved, their resources and interests, the author masterfully presents the importance of textile industry un human development and successfuly vice-versa. This is the non-fiction done right and perfect anc can possibly convert more people to research this topic and appreciate textile and clothing more than we do nowadays.
As printed, please, please share a copy with me. This book will have its special place in my brain and bookshelf forever. Thank you! 

Pre-order your copy today from any of the links on the right of this page. (Click on the thumbnails below to see some of the early praise. And follow me on Instagram.

Pre-Order THE FABRIC OF CIVILIZATION and Get a Handwoven Bookmark

I've recently started weaving on a small inkle loom, used for making straps and bands —or in this case bookmarks to go with The Fabric of Civilization.

Here's how to get your own bookmark:

1) Pre-order the book at any of the links to the right, or from your local bookseller.

2) Email a copy of your receipt and the mailing address for the bookmark to me at vp at vpostrel.com. Please note that Amazon receipts cut off the address partway through, so you'll need to type the whole thing.


Pre-orders help draw attention to new books by boosting their first-week sales. And while you wait, you can put your bookmark to good use.

Thanks to Patricia Isenberg and Jason Woertink for sharing photos of their bookmarks. When yours arrives, please email me a picture!

Update: At the request of my Princeton classmate (and informal publicist) David Bernstein*, I have black-and-orange bookmarks available as well as those coordinating with the book's cover. If you want one of those, please let me know. (*Not to be confused with the two other David Bernsteins I know.)

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