Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Publishing your railroad book

We've been puzzled by seeing several people spending thousands of dollars to self publish railroad books in the conventional way that results in high up-front inventory costs, and an expensive volume, with the result that they strain their finances while making the information much less accessible than it could be.

You might want to consider electronic publishing either on the internet or using on demand printing (or both). If you can scan the pages and convert the text using optical character recognition, yourself, then publication costs can be very low while maintaining extremely high quality (and you can get bound volumes while avoiding having to spend hours running a photocopier yourself).

If you created your book as a computer file, putting it online is incredibly easy. Putting a converted book online as a PDF file also costs almost nothing, and takes very little time and effort, now that scanners and on-line storage costs have dropped so dramatically. Our website despite having thousands of pages, thousands of pictures, and multiple books on-line, still has a vast and growing amount of unused space, so we'd be glad to host such an electronic railroad book on our website at no cost to you (and at no incremental cost to us) if you don't have the capability yourself and want our help to do this. Here are a few examples of books or book chapters already on our website:
Many other examples can be found at in the history readings.

Judging from Bruce Cooper's experience in publishing Riding the Transcontinental Rails this way, printing copies from such an electronic manuscript a few at a time shouldn't cost very much per copy, and requires no up-front investment.

Contact the CPRR Museum if you would like us to publish your railroad book online for free.