New Sherwood

Book publishing questions

I’m growing more serious in exploring the field of book publishing. Both Jim Curley and Christopher Blunt (buy their books!) have made an impressive go of it, with some preliminary success, though both men are busy with other pursuits. Apart from the financial difficulties common to all start-ups, publishing seems to be an ideal home-based enterprise. So I have a few questions for my readers.

1. What kinds of books do you buy? Do you prefer fiction or non-fiction? Short stories or novels? Do you read poetry? Humor? Essays? Plays? Or do you mainly just read blogs?

2. What kinds of books would you like to read but can’t seem to find?

3. Can you think of a market niche for books that isn’t presently well-served?

4. There appear to be thousands of out-of-print books in the public domain. Do you find reading older books to be difficult or boring?

5. Do you patronize small, independent publishers directly? Or do you prefer Amazon and Barnes & Noble?

6. Have you (or anyone you know) written a good book for which you can’t find a publisher?

7. If you homeschool, do your children read contemporary children’s books? If so, what are they? If not, why not?

8. Also for homeschoolers: what kinds of books, if any, would you like to see in your curriculum but can’t seem to find? Manners and etiquette? Homemaking skills? Logic and critical thinking? Social science that isn’t ultra-liberal or politically correct?

9. Do you think there is a niche for publishers that focus specifically on local/regional history, culture, economics, environment, politics, etc.?

If you have other thoughts or insights related to publishing, I’d be grateful if you would share them here. Thanks in advance.

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August 7, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized

27 Comments »

  1. A couple of quick thoughts, from my own experience and research in preparing to publish a work of fiction:

    Non-fiction is much easier to market and sell than fiction. Whatever the non-fiction topic of the book, the author can be brought on to any number of radio programs, quoted in any number of newsmedia stories, etc, as an expert in the top of his book. The fiction author, by contrast, simply wrote a good (or not so good) story.

    Print-on-demand is the way to go in getting books to market. The old days of printing 2,000 copies of a book and warehousing them are over; only the big, old, traditional publishing houses are still relying on that model. Small publishers are increasingly using suppliers such as Lightning Source, who print books one at a time as soon as they’re ordered. Print quality is outstanding — just look at my book. It is more expensive per copy, but there are many costs you save (particularly shipping, and the big middleman cuts taken by distributors).

    When a customer orders my book on Amazon, Amazon transmits the order to Lightning Source in TN. They print the book, box it in Amazon packaging, and ship it directly to the customer with an Amazon receipt. The “warehouse” is now a computer server, and the customer has no idea. You’d be amazed how many books are now produced this way.

    I highly recommend Morris Rosenthal’s book, “Print On Demand Book Publishing” as a comprehensive overview of the process. He’s a guy who’s actually set up a viable small publishing business, and is using this model. Also check out his website, http://www.fonerbooks.com

    Aaron Shepard’s book, Aiming at Amazon, is another excellent book about the process — and about maximizing sales opportunities through Amazon in particular. Dovetails nicely with Rosenthal.

    Like

    Comment by Chris | August 7, 2008 | Reply

  2. Jeff-I can echo Chris words (although we do both POD and traditional offset.) One caution-POD books which are around 100 pages or less have less than satisfactory bindings. I don’t know how the process differs, but shorter POD books have low quality bindings than their equivalent in offset.

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    Comment by Jim Curley | August 7, 2008 | Reply

  3. I’d echo what Chris said. A friend of mine published a print-on-demand book with Lulu.com. That said, I’ll answer your questions.

    1. I prefer non-fiction, especially politics and foreign policy. I like a good novel from time to time, especially the classics.

    2. I’d like to read more books from the Nineteenth Century.

    3. Priests used to write a lot of books about the Middle Ages or about mission fields like China or India. These would be interesting.

    4. I love old prose.

    5. I have been patronizing used book stores through Barnes & Noble simply because the accept PayPal. I’ve bought books directly from ISI, but then suddenly my orders wouldn’t go through from my computer for whatever reason.

    6. I have a book or two in mind.

    7. We currently use the “Learbn Every Day” series by Learning Horizons, simply because they were available at Costco Korea.

    8. My kids are young, but the books you mention would be good. Anything presenting the classical curriculum would be good.

    9. I think a good niche could be a print-on-demand publisher that focuses on localist books from all over the country. Rather than just carrying books on Glenn County, for example, you could offer titles ranging from “Catholic Traditionalism in Orland, California” to “Quaker Self-Government in Orchard Park, New York.”

    Like

    Comment by The Western Confucian | August 7, 2008 | Reply

  4. 1. I read novels, short stories, poetry, essays, non-fiction, history and philosophy.

    2. What I find difficult to get are histories written from a politically conservative perspective and especially, histories of the Church written by believing Catholics. They are normally written by embittered ex and anti-Catholics. Philip Hughes, Henri Daniel Rops, Christopher Dawson, etc., are wonderful but I have not seen a great deal in this line, with this level of serious scholarship being produced now.

    3. Christian science fiction. One can only re-read C.S. Lewis’ space trilogy so many times.

    4. No.

    5. The few times I’ve ordered books, I’ve gone directly to the publishers. Amazon scares me.

    6. Working on it.

    7. N/A

    8. N/A

    9. Heck yeah.

    Like

    Comment by Hilarity | August 7, 2008 | Reply

  5. I can’t even get started properly, because this is such a huge topic. On the other hand, it sort of _isn’t_ a huge topic to my house because we’ve recently declared a moratorium on physical book-buying. The rule now is that, except for the children’s textbooks for home schooling and except for books purchased as gifts for birthdays and Christmas,any physical book brought into the house must be matched by one of the same size or bigger permanently gotten rid of. We just have too many. Thousands and thousands. It’s overwhelming.

    I did just recently buy replacements from ABE books for several children’s classics–Fifteen Rabbits and Stormy, Misty’s Foal.

    If you do start republishing old books using scanning technology, beware, beware of those too-smart scanners that try to put something in when they don’t recognize some letters. I have a useless copy of The Island of Sheep by Buchan that keeps calling it “the bland of Sheep” all the way through the book, along with many other distracting errors that sometimes make it hard to get the meaning.

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    Comment by Lydia | August 7, 2008 | Reply

  6. 1. What kinds of books do you buy? Do you prefer fiction or non-fiction? Short stories or novels? Do you read poetry? Humor? Essays? Plays? Or do you mainly just read blogs?

    I prefer non-fiction. Lately I have had a great interest in non-fiction that has both a religious orientation and is of significant local interest. I have been focusing on the history of Cotholicism in Colorado. I’ve mostly gotten these books at the local seminary library.

    2. What kinds of books would you like to read but can’t seem to find?

    I’ve been wanting to get my hands on older devotional materials produced for the laity that has been translated into engilsh, or that might have the english translaton on a facing page. I’d like to get a “Book of Hours” from the 15th century. I’d also like to get materials on franciscanism that didn’t have all of the poor 60’s and 70’s artwork.

    I’m also interested in english translations of source materials from Spanish New Mexico.

    3. Can you think of a market niche for books that isn’t presently well-served?

    Solid devotional materials for children. Fr. Lasance had a variety of devotionals, some of which have been reproduced by Angelus Press, and some of which have been reproduced by Fraternity Publications. More of this sort of thing might have a niche.

    Maybe you could offer facsimilies of the proayer books of famous church men and women, like Abp. Lamy of Santa Fe, Bp. Machebuef of Denver, Bp. Flaget of Bardstown, St. Elizabeth Seton, St. John Neumann, et al. These would be of particular interest if they had notes written in them, but permissions might be difficult to obtain.

    4. There appear to be thousands of out-of-print books in the public domain. Do you find reading older books to be difficult or boring?

    I love old books.

    5. Do you patronize small, independent publishers directly? Or do you prefer Amazon and Barnes & Noble?

    I would like to by from smaller local retailers and publishers, but usually end up going with Amazon because of price and selection.

    6. Have you (or anyone you know) written a good book for which you can’t find a publisher?

    no

    7. If you homeschool, do your children read contemporary children’s books? If so, what are they? If not, why not?

    My kids are reading the Spiderwick Chronicles right now, but mostly read older stuff.

    8. Also for homeschoolers: what kinds of books, if any, would you like to see in your curriculum but can’t seem to find? Manners and etiquette? Homemaking skills? Logic and critical thinking? Social science that isn’t ultra-liberal or politically correct?

    My wife frequently picks up older homemaking manuals. They may actually be a market for reprints there. There are a number of women in our parish who were raised in modern families where their mothers worked. Because of this, they may benefit a good deal from the knowledge contaned in housekeeping manuals.

    As far as homeschooling goes. We use the cirriculum prepared by the Mother of Divine Grace School, so the books are available.

    9. Do you think there is a niche for publishers that focus specifically on local/regional history, culture, economics, environment, politics, etc.?

    I would like this niche to be available, but I’m not sure it is.

    Like

    Comment by ben | August 7, 2008 | Reply

  7. Wow, excellent advice and feedback. Thanks everyone. Although I’m looking for a niche, that niche needs to have a broad enough appeal to earn a living. The localist angle really intrigues me, but it seems that few books of this genre are going to be big sellers. I could be wrong, of course. I’d love to do Catholic and religious books, but I worry about a very limited readership. One idea I’ve had is reprinting old titles from the American West, of interest primarily to historians (pro and amateur). The POD approach could make this viable. Also – someone needs to write and publish grade-school California history books from a Catholic perspective. I wonder what’s out there now …

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    Comment by Jeff Culbreath | August 8, 2008 | Reply

  8. Jeff-There is a series of books (Arcadia Publishing- http://www.arcadiapublishing.com) on local histories. I have a friend who authored two such books (one on Front Royal, VA and one on the Catawba Indians of SC) I have seen several of the SC series in bookstores.

    Many states now have laws requiring courses or numbers of hours in local/state history-so maybe it is a market worth exploring. Yet, one sign a market is there is if there are successful publishers in it already-at least to some extent-but then again, I am not the one to give market advice to anyone!

    Like

    Comment by Jim Curley | August 8, 2008 | Reply

  9. And one more comment…

    One problem with Catholic history for grade-school is that many Catholic schools no longer use Catholic texts (note that most major textbook publishers no longer have “Catholic divisions”-and are unwilling to-I think due either to government mandates or subsidies or general ignorance.

    While Catholic homeschooling has grown, by and large this isn’t where the $$$ is. Yes they buy lots of books, but more often than not used books.

    So there is a definite need, but maybe not a market.

    Like

    Comment by Jim Curley | August 8, 2008 | Reply

  10. As far as curriculum goes, I would appreciate more science curriculum with _less_ hands-on experiment stuff and _more_ factual content, from about 2nd grade through 8th grade. Hands-on science is now all the rage. I’m not saying I have some heavy in-principle argument against it, but the truth is that the kids are just learning fewer facts about the world around them from contemporary science curriculum, even the better stuff.

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    Comment by Lydia | August 8, 2008 | Reply

  11. Jim: I own a couple of those Arcadia books, including “The Land of Orland”. They’ve got a great marketing system in place as I see these everywhere they are selling books.

    Another thing I was thinking about is a strictly small-time publishing business that focuses on literature by local writers – memoirs, stories, poetry, that sort of thing. Lots of civic-minded people might appreciate that. Again, the POD model could make this viable.

    With respect to homeschoolers, I agree that the market for new publications is probably too small. We also prefer used books. I was thinking more along the lines of Catholic schools or even public schools. The texts could be “Catholic-friendly” rather than overtly Catholic.

    Like

    Comment by Jeff Culbreath | August 8, 2008 | Reply

  12. Lydia: Good point about science courses overloaded with “hands on” projects. I hadn’t thought about it much. Do you know anyone who could write such a curriculum? How about a book on reading and phonics???

    Like

    Comment by Jeff Culbreath | August 8, 2008 | Reply

  13. Another question: would the most practical earn-a-living approach be just to publish anything, without being limited by genre or category? Literature, history, cookbooks, prayer books, textbooks …. do it all. The only problem with this would seem to be marketing. The publisher would not be sought out because readers might enjoy the kinds of books it prints; rather, the individual books would be sought out, with very little crossover purchasing.

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    Comment by Jeff Culbreath | August 8, 2008 | Reply

  14. I’d probably be da man on reading and phonics, only I don’t want to sell my stuff for money. I gave Bill Luse probably a much longer answer to his question of why I don’t want to do so than he was looking for on my own blog.

    I don’t know anybody who is likely to _want_ to write a kids’ science curriculum, though I can think of people who would probably do a good job.

    But I’ll tell you this much: I have a brilliant 15-year-old one of whose greatest talents is proof-reading for grammar, punctuation, and spelling, and who is wondering how she is going to make a living some day if she doesn’t get married (which of course she hopes she will). So if you make a go of it and are ever looking for a top-notch proof-reader, she’d be a star. :-) Warning: She can’t stand gender-neutral language and will edit out silly attempts to use “she” is a generic pronoun. :-)

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    Comment by Lydia | August 8, 2008 | Reply

  15. Jeff, you said, “The localist angle really intrigues me, but it seems that few books of this genre are going to be big sellers.”

    Businessmen these days talk about “The Long Tail,” used “to describe the niche strategy of businesses… that sell a large number of unique items in relatively small quantities.”

    If you could position yourself as the publisher of all things local from all corners of Ye Olde Republick, you might be able to make living by selling small numbers of a wide-range of books. Here, the print-on-demand model would be appropriate.

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    Comment by The Western Confucian | August 8, 2008 | Reply

  16. “But I’ll tell you this much: I have a brilliant 15-year-old one of whose greatest talents is proof-reading for grammar, punctuation, and spelling, and who is wondering how she is going to make a living some day if she doesn’t get married (which of course she hopes she will). So if you make a go of it and are ever looking for a top-notch proof-reader, she’d be a star.”

    That’s great! I may just take her up on it. Child labor laws be hanged. :-)

    “Warning: She can’t stand gender-neutral language and will edit out silly attempts to use ‘she’ is a generic pronoun.”

    A girl after my own heart! Somehow I knew she’d be at least as sensible as her mother.

    One of my earliest published essays – back in ’86 or ’87 I think – was titled “In Defense of the Masculine Pronoun”. It was inspired by a female college classmate who had a fine paper marked down by her professor for using the word “mankind”. I’ve been on a crusade ever since.

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    Comment by Jeff Culbreath | August 8, 2008 | Reply

  17. “If you could position yourself as the publisher of all things local from all corners of Ye Olde Republick, you might be able to make living by selling small numbers of a wide-range of books. Here, the print-on-demand model would be appropriate.”

    That’s a great idea, except I think I’d keep it smaller at first – maybe the Western States, or just California, or even just northern California. To start with. Thanks!

    Like

    Comment by Jeff Culbreath | August 8, 2008 | Reply

  18. By the time you’re up and running she’ll be in college. :-)

    The revisionist language stuff is bad news. But I will say that I’ve found publishers more willing to back down on it than most people think, if the author stands firm. Tim and I have published two books now (the first was by him alone) in philosophy using generic ‘he’.

    I’m more worried about secular college professors! They can be crusaders.

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    Comment by Lydia | August 8, 2008 | Reply

  19. Jeff,

    Either great minds think alike, or else fools rush in together … I’ve had exactly the same thought myself. (Looks like you’re considering it more seriously than I have yet, though …) It’s the only way I can think to get some payback for this reading addiction I’m saddled with. :)

    1. What kinds of books do you buy? Do you prefer fiction or non-fiction? Short stories or novels? Do you read poetry? Humor? Essays? Plays? Or do you mainly just read blogs?

    Mainly just blogs. :) We’ve really cut back on the book-buying, other than for homeschooling, and even for that, we’re making heavy use of used book sales and the library (we are gifted with an extensive local public library with excellent inter-library loan privileges).

    But I’ve spent recently on some gardening books and cookbooks, as well as a few devotionals.

    2. What kinds of books would you like to read but can’t seem to find?

    My current passion is the history of technology — you’d think there’d be more available on this, but there’s only so much that’s been written. There are a few good non-academic treatments, but the selection is limited.

    3. Can you think of a market niche for books that isn’t presently well-served?

    See above. Also, non-problematic “young adult” fiction — there seems to be a gap between little kiddie books and challenging high school/adult literature that is currently filled by books on vampires, sluts, or vampire sluts. And there’s only so many times one can re-read The Lord of the Rings (I burned out after reading it a dozen times in junior high. :) )

    4. There appear to be thousands of out-of-print books in the public domain. Do you find reading older books to be difficult or boring?

    Sometimes. It depends on the book.

    5. Do you patronize small, independent publishers directly? Or do you prefer Amazon and Barnes & Noble?

    I’m sure I don’t buy direct from the independents as much as I should. Then again, I’m not buying much from Borders or Amazon either…

    6. Have you (or anyone you know) written a good book for which you can’t find a publisher?

    Not yet.

    7. If you homeschool, do your children read contemporary children’s books? If so, what are they? If not, why not?

    For the younger children, yes. For older children, I think the selection is much more limited.

    There’s worse stuff out there than Harry Potter.

    8. Also for homeschoolers: what kinds of books, if any, would you like to see in your curriculum but can’t seem to find? Manners and etiquette? Homemaking skills? Logic and critical thinking? Social science that isn’t ultra-liberal or politically correct?

    Either I’m not finding it, or there’s simply a dearth of good reading for the middle school years.

    There seems to be a good amount of “logic and critical thinking” material already on the market, but there’s probably room for more good material. I know locally, there’s a demand from parents, and I’m less than satisfied with what I’ve seen available so far.

    I haven’t looked at the social science materials yet, so maybe that’s why I haven’t perceived a need.

    9. Do you think there is a niche for publishers that focus specifically on local/regional history, culture, economics, environment, politics, etc.?

    I would think and hope so.

    peace,

    Like

    Comment by Zach Frey | August 9, 2008 | Reply

  20. Hi Jeff –

    Just some initial thoughts… there are a zillion books at, for example, Project Gutenberg I’d like to read, but I find etext inconvenient. It’s handy for text searches, of course, but you just can’t beat the portable convenience of having a real book in your hands. And I don’t want to spend the time formatting text and dealing with some POD outfit. I’m a busy guy.

    It would be very nice to have someone who can convert a given etext to a beautiful printed & bound book for relatively little money. The procedure as I imagine it: I choose some interesting Project Gutenberg texts from your website, go through a painless amazon-like checkout procedure, and a few days later yet another ruptured UPS man staggers away from my door having delivered handsome books produced by Mr C’s cheap and streamlined system.

    The key here would be the conversion process. You don’t want to keep 1000 copies on hand of “The Digestive System of Chamaeza campanisona Considered”, but if one weirdo clicks on it, he can have it in his damp pudgy hands a couple of days later thanks to your system.

    Or does some system like this already exist? I know of Gutenmark, which, the last time I tried it, left a lot to be desired.

    I really like the idea of specializing in local subjects – P Gutenberg abounds in those. Maybe targeted ads on google when someone searches for an address or area?

    I’d offer my rusty LaTeX typesetting skills, but they are *really* rusty and I’m swamped at work.

    Cheers!

    Bill White

    Like

    Comment by Bill White | August 9, 2008 | Reply

  21. Zach Frey, for your “middle schooler” or teenager, may I recommend a few of the books of H. Rider Haggard? Get them from the library or used on ABE books. I especially recommend _King Solomon’s Mines_ and _Alan Quatermain_. They are adventure novels set in Africa. I reread them all the time. Love ’em. In a similar vein, _Treasure Island_. It has a surprisingly stiff vocabulary. If you don’t mind a certain amount of macabre-ness and the fact that Sherlock Holmes does cocaine in the early stories, _The Complete Sherlock Holmes_ by A. Conan Doyle is excellent for a good reader-teenager. Conan Doyle also has an absolutely wonderful adventure novel set in the Hundred Years’ War called _The White Company_. There is one edition with Wyeth illustrations that is especially attractive. The only negative I can even think of about that one is that it has a bit of relatively mild anti-Catholicism in it.

    If you have a girl in the teenage category, start her on Elizabeth Goudge (English Christian novelist, d. 1984). Even Goudge’s children’s novels are enjoyable for someone older–_The Little White Horse_ and _Linnets and Valerians_. And for a discerning teenager, her adult novels are excellent–_The Dean’s Watch_ (which a boy will enjoy as well) and _The White Witch_, especially.

    If Jeff is thinking of going the route of binding books that are in the public domain there is a huge wealth of material on Google books and archive.org. Some of them are badly scanned, though, so look before printing.

    Oh, gosh, come to think of it, Jeff, a lot of Goudge’s novels are out of print. As in, virtually all of them. I wonder if Coward McCann (I think it is) would sell the re-publishing rights reasonably…

    Like

    Comment by Lydia | August 9, 2008 | Reply

  22. Beautiful graphic on this post…

    I can’t add nothing much to all the good advice and helpful comments. I read mostly non-fiction, (shamefully) use Amazon, don’t find old books too difficult, not sure about what I can’t find (what with abe-books and amazon & the ‘net, finding books has never been easier).

    Where I am always a buyer of small presses is regional histories, and occasionally religious books. Anything about Ohio history, or more specifically southwestern Ohio, I’m always very interested in and apt to buy. (Part of that is due to my interest in genealogical research.)

    Like

    Comment by TSO | August 9, 2008 | Reply

  23. Lydia,

    Thanks for the recommendations! I have only a single teenaged boy (13) at this point, but time will march on for the rest…

    I haven’t read Haggard’s novels, but I know of them. And our library even has that edition of The White Company — don’t know why I didn’t think of that, other than selfishly wanting to read it myself first. :)

    peace,

    Like

    Comment by Zach Frey | August 9, 2008 | Reply

  24. Wow, Jeff, when do you read all these answers?
    I’ve always wanted to write. One thing I’d love to write are books for kids who are homeschooled, about homeschooling families. I’d like to write about them and their adventures in the store (why aren’t you kids in school?) and the neighborhood, and with their families and friends. Maybe I shouldn’t have told you. You might steal it! 

    1. I buy many mommy homeschooling books, curriculum, and light of heart home stories type books. One is “Please Don’t Drink The Holy Water” by Susie Lloyd. She cracks me up. I also enjoy sci-fi, fantasy, and I LOVE Michael O’Brien’s Catholic semi-apocalyptic novels.
    2. Back to the homeschool stories. I can always find a book I love. There are so many books, only one life.
    3. Yup, fictional homeschool family books.
    4. I like the ones MODG recommends that are out of print. Boring or exciting depends completely upon the subject matter.
    5. I prefer Amazon for ease of use, but I’m a frequent visitor at http://www.emmanuelbooks.com, http://www.ourfathershouse.biz, http://www.hspbooks.com, and other little stores like that.
    6. Nope, not yet. There are a lot of publishers, and there is always self-publishing, but I know nothing about that.
    7. I do read contemporary books, but it depends on whether you mean year 2000 or if the 60-80’s will do. I love Marguerite Henry’s horse books, Madeleine L’Engle’s books (my favorite), and Beverly Cleary’s books. Cleary’s remind me of being little, because I really have forgotten. I can’t imagine how she remembered so much. For older kids, Lois Lowry is great, but it’s difficult subject matter, so a parent may want to pre-read. I liked a lot of Judy Blume’s work, too, but I had all kinds of Catholics jump on me at a homeschool meeting one time, so I guess some of her books are a little iffy.
    L’Engle was amazing at bringing the wonder of God into fantasy. For instance, using the sonnet as a comparison to life, that life is a structure with creativity within it, was a good idea for kids to understand. She has great books for adults, too. Two-Part Invention was the story of their marriage interspersed with her husband’s death.
    8. I like the idea of teaching homemaking skills in a small, easy to open and close, hard to break, book. Like a kiddy cookbook, only with things like “how to pasteurize milk”, “how to can veggies”, “how to mend a sock”, “how to thread your dratted sewing machine”, “how to card wool”, “how to cook weird veggies like fennel”. You could both write it, and call it the “Lost Homemaking Arts Handbook” or something like that. Or “basic folkdances” would be fun, too.
    a. I should also add that I do get tired of overly religious material after a while. I do realize that we are trying to follow God, but some books beat me over the head with it, and I don’t need that in every single subject, every single day. If that makes sense.
    9. YES! But they might not sell well immediately. My mom lost a book in a fire once and I was all set to get it for her, til I looked it up. Look up Genocide and Vendetta about the Round Mountain Indians in N. California. The price tag is steep, even on Amazon. I was quoted around $1000 originally. It was written in 1981.
    10. I’d like a really easy to read book showing the logical progression of culture and how certain decisions lead to the collapse of civilizations. Greeks, Romans, Aztecs, The West. I’d like to see that as a logical argument, step by step, with lots of research and links to information.

    We hope to see more soon! 

    Like

    Comment by Annaberri | August 9, 2008 | Reply

  25. Zach, Haggard does have the faults of a Victorian novelist, such as a taste for the macabre and the tragic. That’s why I recommend those particular two novels, as they maximize his strengths and minimize his faults. Your son might like John Buchan’s _Island of Sheep_, though not in the above badly scanned edition that I mentioned. It’s Buchan’s last novel about his main character (Richard Hannay) but the best of the lot. A really fun adventure novel. Fun to read aloud, for that matter. And if he can stand Walter Scott’s digressions (or if it’s okay with you for him to skip them a bit), _Ivanhoe_ is tip-top.

    Many of these are out of print (not Ivanhoe, of course). I wish I knew more about the publishing of out of print books that are not old enough to be in the public domain. For example, I wonder if Jeff does get the publishing project up and going if it would be financially feasible to publish an adventure series of some of the Haggards and Buchans that are now out of print.

    Like

    Comment by Lydia | August 9, 2008 | Reply

  26. Just throwing this out there….

    The vast majority of books published by TAN books are in the public domain… But the TAN editions are poorly bound (as often as not) and they are more or less imprints of older editions, making the type sometimes hard to read, and have issues with the scripture verse citations being in Roman numerals or what not…

    At any rate, a lot of what they publish is free to be re-published in a better form, with better binding, and it would be relatively easy to add graphics that are also from the public domain. Start publishing a cleaned up (appearance wise!) edition of “Introduction to the Devout Life” and I will order the first ten copies.

    Like

    Comment by asimplesinner | August 23, 2008 | Reply

  27. I agree with simplesinner. Make sure that the books are attractive! TAN’s are notorious for being ugly.

    Like

    Comment by Meredith | August 26, 2008 | Reply


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