Why Republish Old Books?

There's an amazing wealth of published material sitting on dusty shelves, virtually undiscovered by millions of readers today. Some of these are well-known and continue to be republished for sale today:  Treasure Island, Through the Looking Glass, or The Scarecrow of Oz.

But what about those other books -- ones rarely seen today, yet are just as fun, just as important, or just as informative to readers today?  Books like: The Travels of Birds, The True Mother Goose (wonderfully illustrated!) and What They Say In New England are all great books that are often hard to find outside of library special collections or rare book shops.

Just as important for me is not only the written word, but the illustrations many of these old books contain.  These illustrations are being lost in the advance to digitize these old books for the web.  Sites that are designed to provide only a .txt format strip the images from the book, and others that scan books rapidly for pdf format do not take the time to ensure the images are displayed appropriately. There's too much of a rush to get the printed word on-line.  We need to slow down and faithfully reproduce the original book content.

That's what we try to do at Kellscraft Studio. 


I really agree with your comment about it's not just the written word that's important, but the illustrations contained in these books. I recently acquired an orginal copy of "The Old Peabody Pew" by Kate Douglas Wiggin and would like to know how to republish it the way it was meant to be republished...I would appreciate any comments that you might have...Thank you for your assistance.


I also have found a really old book (circa 1820) about the American Revolution and would love to bring this early 17th century viewpoint of the Revolution to our time. Could you provide any information on the processes involved in republishing old material?

Hi Jeff,

Great website. Some of your garden and bird books are treasures I would love to have.

I sent you an email about one of them.

I'm building a website. These books offer ideas for specific topic, domain name, and such...but I would love the books for myself anyway.

...and Ben Franklin's book too. He was so busy, organized and interesting.


Completely agree with the article! Some of the illustrations within older books, including classics (for instance, you mention Treasure Island) are genius. They truly help bring the art to life, and this has been lost in modern literature altogether. They help get, in particular, children involved in the literature because of how exciting or interesting the illustrations appear.

In fact, the only literature I've seen that comes close to bringing this into the 21st century are the Dan Brown special editions that include full-page photographs of the places described. I accept that opinions vary wildly about the quality of his written work, but I like the inclusion of the photographs as an up-to-date enhancement of the writing. I therefore find the same to be true of good illustrations, and I love the cross-hatched shaded imagery it seems you often used to find at new chapters.

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This page contains a single entry by JeffAdminist published on September 1, 2008 11:07 AM.

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