An Extremely Valuable Resource

by EJW on September 18, 2007 · 1 comment

I wanted to make you all aware of an extremely valuable resource.

As a publisher of books, I’m aware of the value of print-on-demand (“POD”) publishing. POD makes it possible for a publisher to have a book in its inventory that may only sell five or six copies over the course of a year. If it’s got to print and maintain them in inventory, it’s obviously not economically feasible to carry a title if that inventory isn’t going to turn.

This means that, until the advent of POD as a legitimate business model, many valuable regimental histories and memoirs languished unseen, as it just didn’t make economic sense for someone to reprint that book. POD, however, has changed all of that completely.

Wardhouse Books, a division of Higginson Books, offers POD reprints of some extremely obscure regimental histories. At this point, I probably have nearly three dozen of Wardhouse’s reprints in my working library. While I love to invest in first edition books, I’m afraid to use them in my work. There’s too much risk of them being damaged, while I don’t care if a reprint gets messed up. The reprints are very reasonably priced, and I have no problem in ordering and using them in my work.

Among the exceedingly rare regimentals I’ve ordered from Wardhouse are the 3rd Indiana Cavalry, the 1st New York Dragoons, the 8th New York Cavalry, and the 1st District of Columbia and 1st Maine Cavalry. I have only ever seen three first edition copies of the 1st New York Dragoons history, and know it to be one of the most rare regimental histories out there.

The books are not pretty. Let’s be very clear about this. They come with library bindings, and the POD scans pick up everything written in the original book, including pencil underlining and comments in the margins. If you’re looking for pretty dust jackets, forget it. The books are functional and that’s about all that can be said for their physical appearance. Photo quality inside the books is questionable, but you make allowances to get the rare content.

For those of you who are into research, or are looking for very rare regimental histories, then you can’t possibly go wrong with these books, which are extremely valuable resources for my work.

Eric Wittenberg


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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Steve Meserve September 19, 2007 at 3:31 pm

Eric,

A number of the books you mention are also available on Live Search Books (search.live.com) at no charge. You can download the whole book and have the advantage of being able to do word searches, which I find to be a great advantage for research.

Steve Meserve

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