Reprinting and updating an old handbook
Apart from stamps, I’m interested in books and publishing. So I’ve been looking for old books or booklets on stamps of the various Nigerias and of early Ireland (my other interest).
I found an example of a Postage Stamp Handbook entitled “Niger Coast Protectorate” by Edward J. Nankivell and edited by Fred J. Melville. It’s small, the pictures are not very good and the font size is challenging to read.
Since both these gentlemen passed away over 70 years ago, their booklet is in the public domain, and you can see reprints on Amazon and eBay.
However, I wanted to do a detailed reprint of exactly what they wrote, whilst updating the reading style to suit modern readers – i.e. larger font and spaces between dense paragraphs. Some of the reprints are just photocopies or scans of the pages, which aren’t that accessible.
I scanned it and put it through optical character recognition (OCR), which did remarkably well. It did need a lot of correction to get the document to be as they wrote it. They put full stops after everything like 1d. and 1s. which is proper but a lot of detail.
I wanted to enhance the publication, rather than just reprint it and hope to make some money. So I added colour scans of the Oil Rivers Protectorate issue (not in the original) and of the two major issues of the Niger Coast Protectorate, which are.
I also transcribed all the advertising pages so they say what they said in the booklet, although the rear cover looks very different as it’s set out in blocks which is beyond my modest skills in Word.
I haven’t tried to make a fancy cover and there is also a Kindle edition. Just to be clear, I will receive royalties from anyone buying the paperback or Kindle edition.