Wrong Photo in Train Book

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Scoring Guy
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Location: Onalaska, Wisconsin

Wrong Photo in Train Book

Post by Scoring Guy »

NOTE: that I posted this same text in the Burlington Northern Forum:
:( I was just paging through my copy of the book "Classic Trains", by Hans Halberstadt, c 2001 by Michael Friedman Publishing (owned by Barnes & Noble) and came across a photo "OOPS".
On page 100, the caption reads, "It was a sensational train in many ways and changed railroading in the United States forever, the Pinoeer Zephyr in all its 1934 Glory".
But in fact the photo is of # 9901, one of the two (along ith 9902)subsequent , and not quite identical (to the 9900) Zephyr units originally built for the Chicago-Twin Cities route that were soon replaced by the higher capacity 9904 and 9905 led Zephyr trains.
I suppose the questions here are:
Does this misprint matter?
Should the author & publisher be contacted? and how?
What other errors are in this book?
Is there enough money to be made with RR books that pumping out these kind of books for $ is more important than accuracy? i.e. are there too many train books?

mxdata
Posts: 1648
Joined: Mon Mar 15, 2004 4:30 pm

Post by mxdata »

The topic of book accuracy and quality has come up occasionally here and on some of the other forums, particularly those related to locomotives. My favorite way of evaluating whether a particular author's titles are worth purchasing is to run their name on eBay search along with the word "book". If you see lots of titles that originally came out at suggested list prices of $40 or more, now being dumped at $10 or less, it tells you a lot about what others think of the product. I also watch how books are displayed at the hobby shops. If all the copies are kept shrink wrapped and they will not make one available for page by page examination, it can be a warning sign that a book is not a quality product. If a new book is a really nice piece of work, the shop owner will WANT you to see what is inside.
"We Repair No Locomotive Before Its Time"

Aa3rt
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Location: La Plata, MD, MP 38.8 on the Pope's Creek sub

Post by Aa3rt »

mxdata wrote:The topic of book accuracy and quality has come up occasionally here and on some of the other forums, particularly those related to locomotives. My favorite way of evaluating whether a particular author's titles are worth purchasing is to run their name on eBay search along with the word "book". If you see lots of titles that originally came out at suggested list prices of $40 or more, now being dumped at $10 or less, it tells you a lot about what others think of the product.
mxdata-Thanks for a valuable hint. As we approach the Christmas gift buying season, I'm sure that many booksellers (Barnes & Noble and Waldenbooks come immediately to mind) will be breaking out those multi-colored tomes with titles like "All the World's Railways in Color" or "Great Locomotives of the World" with stock photographs of locomotives and trains, sometimes misidentified. I know that I've received a few of these over the years, always from well-intentioned family members who are aware of my interest in railways. And, yes, these are usually shrink wrapped with a sticker emblazoned "Published @ $ 39.95, now only $ 12.99!"

Aside from purchasing books from an actual hobby shop or independent bookseller, or directly from the publisher, most family members don't frequent trains shows or railroad museum bookstores where more desirable titles might be found.

I'm afraid that as long as the "mall bookstores" continue to thrive we'll be confronted annually with pieces of schlock like "World's Finest Passenger Trains" compressed to 267 pages, selling at $ 14.95.

I should point out that the local "Borders" bookstore (in Waldorf, MD) does carry some very good railroad books, unlike the nearby Walden's.
Art Audley, AA3RT
Moderator: Railroad Radio & Communications, Railroads in Books, Magazines, Music, TV and other Media, General Discussion: Fallen Trolley & Interurban Lines, General Discussion: Shortline, Industrial & Military Railroads,

Aa3rt
Posts: 869
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 8:09 pm
Location: La Plata, MD, MP 38.8 on the Pope's Creek sub

Re: Wrong Photo in Train Book

Post by Aa3rt »

Scoring Guy wrote:I was just paging through my copy of the book "Classic Trains", by Hans Halberstadt, c 2001 by Michael Friedman Publishing (owned by Barnes & Noble) and came across a photo "OOPS".
On page 100, the caption reads, "It was a sensational train in many ways and changed railroading in the United States forever, the Pinoeer Zephyr in all its 1934 Glory".
But in fact the photo is of # 9901, one of the two (along ith 9902)subsequent , and not quite identical (to the 9900) Zephyr units originally built for the Chicago-Twin Cities route that were soon replaced by the higher capacity 9904 and 9905 led Zephyr trains.


I suppose the questions here are:

Does this misprint matter?
My opinion-yes & no. It SHOULD matter to the author, who should be striving for accuracy. It probably doesn't matter to the "casual" railway enthusiast and most well-informed enthusiasts probably already know the difference.
Should the author & publisher be contacted? and how?
If you think it is worth your while, contact the author via the publisher. The publisher's address should be somewhere in the volume.
What other errors are in this book?
A good question-see my previous post-some of the books that one sees offered especially around Christmas try to appeal to a world-wide audience, thus the international scope of these volumes. I don't think that any one author, unless he has a world-wide research staff behind him, can be knowledgeable on "All the World's Railways".
Is there enough money to be made with RR books that pumping out these kind of books for $ is more important than accuracy? i.e. are there too many train books?
My opinion-there are too many train books-particularly of the type being discussed here which find their way to booksellers during the Christmas season. As I've gotten older (I'm 52.) I've found that my tastes have changed and most of my railroad book buying is limited to books about Pennsylvania shortlines & logging railroads, definitely a "niche" market. However, I've received a number of these "Christmas books" over the years, many with some misinformation included. I've told my bride of 24 years not to bother buying me any railroad books, if there's something I really want to add to my library, I'll it purchase myself. That way, if I'm disappointed, I have no one to blame but me.

While we've limited our discussion to railroad books, have you ever noticed the proliferation of other books of different subject matter that seem to appear in such abundance around Christmas? Books about military air craft, animals, celebrities-all kinds of junk. I seriously wonder if some of these "authors" really exist, or are these books merely a collabrative effort of publishing staffs putting together collections of stock photographs in order to cash in on the Christmas spending rush?
Last edited by Aa3rt on Sun Nov 06, 2005 11:00 pm, edited 3 times in total.
Art Audley, AA3RT
Moderator: Railroad Radio & Communications, Railroads in Books, Magazines, Music, TV and other Media, General Discussion: Fallen Trolley & Interurban Lines, General Discussion: Shortline, Industrial & Military Railroads,

mxdata
Posts: 1648
Joined: Mon Mar 15, 2004 4:30 pm

Post by mxdata »

Art, providing a partial answer to the question you asked in the last paragraph of your latest posting, I can confirm that there are at least a few authors of the mass produced "coffee table" railroad books (sometimes called "fluff" books) that are real people, I have encountered them in railfanning and working in the industry. Having said that, I should also add that the examples cited often have had no work experience whatsoever in the railroad industry or with the equipment builders, and their writing often reflects that. Their experience tends to be totally in the writing and publishing of mass-produced books, so your observations are quite accurate.

The author biography listed on book flyers can be a good indicator of what to expect. The books by good authors tend to have modest biographical sketches, they know the quality of their work is going to sell itself. If you see an author biography that repeatedly refers to the author as an "expert", or includes embelishments like "internationally celebrated author", "world renowned" or "world famous", it should set off an alarm. Most authors have to write up their biographical information for the publisher, and those who find it necessary to proclaim themselves as being renowned celebrated internationally acclaimed world famous experts probably are unqualified for any such honors. If the author biography is "fluff", it is a pretty good indicator that the book may be "fluff" too.
"We Repair No Locomotive Before Its Time"

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