A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE WHOLE EARTH CATALOG
1968 Stewart Brand initiates The Whole Earth Catalog as “ a Low Maintenance, High Yield, Self Sustaining, Critical Information Service.” Self-published, with no advertising, it sold 1000 copies at $5 each.
1969 Now published quarterly with Supplements in between, The Catalog has also become an exchange for interesting ideas and heresies – mostly from readers. Sales reached 60,000 by Fall.
1971 Whole Earth and Stewart are internationally famous, with Catalog sales in the hundreds of thousands. Stewart expects that the many specialized Catalog-inspired publications will take over the job we have started. He publishes the fat Last Whole Earth Catalog as a farewell performance. The non-profit POINT Foundation is founded to disburse whatever funds have accumulated.
1972 Stewart Brand wins the National Book Award. Sales of the now obsolete Last Whole Earth Catalog continue at 5000 a week.
1973 Demand for the Catalog continues unabated. Recognizing that nobody has grabbed the ball, POINT resumes publication with The Updated Last Whole Earth Catalog.
1974 Stewart inaugurates the CoEvolution Quarterly, a reader-supported journal featuring long articles on unorthodox subjects, some considered unacceptable to magazines restricted by advertising. Reviews of tools and books let the “CQ” replace the Supplements as Catalog updates, but the deluge of new information forces POINT to augment The Updated Last Whole Earth Catalog with the Whole Earth Epilog in the Fall.
1977 POINT produces two books: Space Colonies, a serious consideration and critique of proposals for living in space, and Soft Tech, a look at applied state-of-the-art appropriate technology.
1980 POINT “pushes paper technology to the limit” with the 608 page, 5 pound, 2,700 item, Next Whole Earth Catalog.
1981 And updates it with an even heavier 3,907 item second edition.
1984 Stewart leads POINT into a new era with The Whole Earth Software Catalog 1.0, and a companion magazine, Whole Earth Software Review. With reviews still unsullied by pressure from advertising, the two are a critical success, but inevitably out-of-date before they hit the newsstands. After just three issues, the magazine is assimilated by CQ to become the Whole Earth Review.
1986 Essential Whole Earth Catalog
1988 POINT produces two books using desktop publishing techniques: Signal: Communication Tools for the Information Age, and The Fringes of Reason: A Field Guide to New Age Frontiers, Unusual Beliefs and Eccentric Sciences.
1994 Millennium Whole Earth Catalog