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Quo Vadis, David & Charles?


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It's something of a small tragedy that so many excellent books on Britain's railway history have been out of print for so long. One of the first publishing companies that come to mind is David & Charles. Their Regional History and their histories of individual companies were quite good, and are certainly deserving of a reprint. 

 

Is it known who currently holds the rights to David & Charles' catalogue?

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David & Charles? Still going.

 

https://davidandcharles.com/product-category/transport/

 

Shop around though. They are normally cheap as chips. 

 

I think they might have been badly effected when Book Clubs were stopped from having compulsory purchases as ISTR they mostly sold books through The Railway Book Club which I think they had some connection with.

 

Book clubs at the time you got an introductory offer and then had to buy a certain amount of books a year. ISTR the Office of Fair Trading stopped this practice. They died out soon after, probably due to competition from retailers like Amazon.

 

You probably remember the adverts in the back of magazines. 4 Books from 50P each.  Then you had to buy at least one a quarter.

 

Fine if there was stuff you wanted, but often there wasn't. But you still had to buy something or they sent the "editors choice" that was expensive. Didn't want it? Tough. They still billed you and if you refused to pay they were very quick starting legal proceedings.

 

 

 

Jason

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There has been a complicated history and I can see little connection between the original company and the current one which concentrates mainly on "lifestyle" books. See the Wikipedia entry. The railway books listed appear to be second-hand (one is listed twice with different prices).

I was under the impression that D&C sold its railway publishing business to another publisher of railway books - of course I can't now remember which company. At that time I seem to remember that D&C was stated to be concentrating on its Masonic publishing. They may well have long had a "lifestyle" publishing activity but I wouldn't have noticed.

And yes, some very good books over the years. Especially the Regional Histories and histories of companies such as the Severn & Wye, S&D, Cambrian; also the Forgotten Railways series. And a number of books about the GWR.

Can anyone confirm whether I am talking rubbish?

Jonathan

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I don't know whether they have sold the rest of the railway books on, but those railway books are new books.

 

If you are wondering about the two prices, one is hardback and the other softback. You can find them in places like The Works for much less, that's why I said shop around.

 

They also used to publish a lot of what were known as BCA Edition books for the book clubs. Things like craft and cookery books. As well as reprints of classic books. If you weren't in any of the clubs you probably didn't notice them.

 

So whilst it's no longer the same company, they are still publishing the same type of things as they did.

 

 

Jason

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1 hour ago, corneliuslundie said:

I was under the impression that D&C sold its railway publishing business to another publisher of railway books - of course I can't now remember which company. At that time I seem to remember that D&C was stated to be concentrating on its Masonic publishing.

 

Wasn't that Ian Allan?

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"Wasn't that Ian Allan?"

I knew about them. But I had a feeling that the same had happened with D&C. But in the latter bit of my post about publishing Masonic titles I might well be confusing the two at that point. My apologies.

The books listed seem to have been published in 2014 and have modern style ISBNs. I can't offhand work out where the company was in its various  transmogrifications at that date. But they were originally published much longer ago than that (The LMS wagon in the 1970s as I have a copy).

Let's hope that they reprint some more of their classic titles.

Anyway, you seem to have answered the OP's question.

Jonathan

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