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DDFS LLC Publishing (dba Military History Press) is a new entity, founded in April 2008, under the auspices of the former editor in chief at Military History Press (MHP).
With The Age of Napoleon Limited Edition series, Military History Press published five of the finest books in the Napoleonic field, setting high benchmarks. MHP also published Robert E. Lee at War, and Soldier’s View, The Civil War Art of Keith Rocco. The Napoleonic Bicentennial (1996-2021) series books retail at over $185.00 per book. The books themselves have met with rave reviews, and have won two prestigious Asian Print and Design Awards.
We make books that will stand the test of time. Our customers see our books as a long-term investment. These two statements stand in stark contrast to the standard publishing industry, where books are mass produced for economies of scale, and discounted and disposed of when their shelf life is over.
Traditional Editorial Values Still Shine
Editors were, not long ago, partners, collaborators, mentors, protectors and as sponsors by their authors. In a niche market, editors must be specialists, not just generalists. However, contemporary large publishers see this sort of editing as economically inefficient, as they need to pump projects out there to meet seasonal schedules. Therefore, manuscripts are published today that would, in the past, have been put through a more rigorous editorial process of writing, re-writing, fact checking, and honing. Authors no longer receive the sort of nurturing that once helped sustain them - and the fierce loyalty and attachments are increasingly rare between authors, editors and publishing houses these days.
At Military History Press, we are attracting authors who prefer the old traditional relationship. Our final texts are a reflection of much more intensive effort. We engage in numerous re-writes and heavy editing, if necessary, to meet the expectations of our customers. By working closely with our editorial team, our authors actually learn to understand our audience better, which informs all their future projects with us. Our customers, extremely knowledgeable and discerning, appreciate that there is a publisher who takes the time to do it right.
Exterior Values: Our high end editions feature leather covers, and are embossed and gilded with real 14K gold, large books that are lavishly illustrated. Interior Values: Several specific features make our books stand out. We use superior grades of paper, heavier, thicker, sturdier, so that nothing "bleeds through" from one page to another. High grade paper also means that any color images will simply look better, richer and deeper. Our high end books are also smith-sewn (hand-done process), which means that a reader can lay these large books flat on the table, without damaging the spine or the binding itself. Laying the book flat allows the reader to appreciate the maps, paintings and text more fully, and enhances the books display potential.
Commissioned Illustration: Publishers, as a matter of course, once employed artists such as N.C Wyeth to illustrate their works. Many books are collector's items not for the text, but for the artist's work that illustrated them. It is a pleasure to hold books that are so lavishly illustrated. The new publishing paradigm, however, working on fast returns and low margins, simply cannot take the time, energy or expense to retain those features with any frequency.
Our editors work directly with artists and graphic designers who are specifically commissioned to produce paintings, sketches, diagrams and maps in support of our texts. Such unique art work increases the collectability and appearance of each work. We also have access to art and images archives -- such as the Anne S.K. Brown library in Providence and the Chateau of Versailles in France - granting use full rights for reproduction at very affordable costs. In fact, the museums are flattered to have their images used in books of superior quality, and naturally wish to have the books on sale in their museum gift shop when appropriate.
Historical Business Models Made Sense Then….and Now
In the 19th century, publishers collected subscriptions from their customers in order to raise money for printing. In essence, each customer was given a vote before any book was committed to press. In exchange for their input and commitment, the subscribers were given a better price. This leads a publisher to cultivate a relationship with his consumers, to measure their tastes and interests, and to pre-determine the proper size of the print run. The internet allows for a return of the book subscriber. Book proposals can be presented online, and consumers can "vote" by promising to order (or by reserving a book) the proposed titles.