Hello, having amassed a miniature library of 18thC & Napoleonic books on Infantry to research a book 15-20 years ago, I no longer read them & with online/digital print none of them seem to get any interest on Amazon now. Theres 9 big boxes of them piled up in the guest room. But dont really want to just skip so many original old books. Includes Infantry manuals in practically every west European language. They are in South London UK. What best to do with them?
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I wish you luck.
What was the book called - I cannot actually remember! If someone out there has an electronic copy I sent them I d appreciate a post as I lost the PC with it on.
In hindsight it was unpublishable, zero la gloire, zero heroics. A study of infantry unit combat effectiveness in Napoleons time based on organisational management analysis. Treading all over national pride, heritage, and mythology it laid bare some boring calculable truths.
Looking through the document list there's some 400 stretching from Xenophon to Vietnam, even 1990s USA Infantry field manuals . With about half relating to 1776 to 1815. I have contacted the Army Museum in London about the rarest/oldest ones. It would cost hundreds to ship them in UK, thousands abroad, so unless someone on here based near London wants them I think its seeing if a military bookshop minds them dumped on their doorstep.
Good point, maybe you should get in touch with Zack White, who is of the promising new generation, he certainly would know some aspiring historians, other than himself, who live in the UK and would gladly collect those priceless original documentation.
I would urge you not to throw the original papers/books in the skip. Online is fine when online is working, but I'm not not sure that the robustness of digital archives can be taken for granted. We are already finding that photographs taken only 50 years ago can degrade to a point where they are no longer useable, and while these are two different mediums, the point is the same I think. Digital can be lost or corrupted, and who can guarantee long term energy supply?
Please don't bin these manuals. There has to be a repository that would be pleased to give them a good home.
Mr Burnham's comment above is surely also something to consider.
Clearly, the point now is not to realise your initial 'investment' but rather to preserve them for posterity.
Have you thought about donating them to a younger scholar?
May I ask what the resulting book was called?
Like you, I'd hate to toss them. I'd at least want someone who would appreciate them to get them, even if I wasn't making any money back.
... even Krieg 1806 sounds interresting to me.
This is a tough problem these days. I've read many articles about similar problems - children wanting to donate or sell a departed parent's library. You could try a specialized used book dealer, perhaps if you take a lower price you can convince them to take the whole collection. Libraries with regular book sales might take them (don't know if British public libraries do this, and Covid might make this impossible even if they did). Or an organization like Oxfam, maybe the only real option.
Unless you are willing to sell the books yourself online (which takes time and effort), you're not going to get what they are worth. When I started collecting books, I thought of it partly as an investment, but the world has passed that by.