Recommended Reading and Resources – So far . . .

Recommended Reading and Resources – So far . . .

by Thomas Farley

thomasfarley@fastmail.com

Note

Beginning rockhounds should start with anything produced by Diamond Dan Publications. Mostly written by Darryl Powell, these titles are approachable and accurate:

Diamond Dan’s Mineralogical Dictionary for Mineral Collectors
Crystals and Crystal Forms: An Introduction to Crystallography for Mineral Collectors
Fluorite: The Rainbow Mineral
Minerals of the U.S.A.
The Best Bathroom Book for Mineral Collectors Ever Written
The Best Bathroom Book for Mineral Collectors Ever Written No. 2
The World of Minerals and Crystals: Their Properties, Forms and Uses

http://www.diamonddanpublications.net/publications.html

Everything below is more complicated. Every title is worthwhile, it’s just a matter of price. Support your local used bookseller and the used book outlets at many county, city, and university libraries. As for the net, these two online sellers are well established:

https://www.abebooks.com/

https://www.alibris.com/

Main List of Desirable Reading

American Automobile Association. Tour Book Guide: Colorado & Utah (Heathrow, Florida: AAA Publishing, 2016)

A weak entry to begin with. These old Tour Book Guides dated quickly but provided good snippets on area history and cities. AAA may no longer be printing them.

Anthony, John, Sidney Williams, and Richard A. Bideaux. Mineralogy of Arizona (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1982)

Everything technically needed to know about Arizona minerals. Describes practically every mineral in AZ and their localities, along with many photos. Like a Mindat.org in print. Lots of nice line drawings showing crystal forms of many minerals. There is a new edition out, the old edition I have is fine for me.

Bates, Robert and Julia Jackson. Dictionary of Geological Terms 3rd ed. (New York: The American Geological Institute, 1984)

Definitive and easily handled paperback geology dictionary. Worth buying but see Howell’s work listed further on. The authors more current and comprehensive title is the Glossary of Geology, now in its fourth edition. It’s an expensive hardback. The third edition, used, of course, is a better value.

Burns, Japser. Trilobites (Wilmington, Delaware: Miller’s Fossils, 1999)

Beautifully illustrated book in black and white. Clear explanations of the many trilobites, the first fossils most people encounter.

Busbey, Arthur, Robert Coenraads, David Roots, and Paul Willis. Rocks & Fossils (New York: Time Life Books, 1996) Excellent introduction to everything rocks, gems, and minerals. Well-illustrated in full color. Great bargain used.

Castor, Stephen and Gregory Ferdock. Minerals of Nevada (Reno and Las Vegas: Nevada University Press, 2004)

The essential tome on Nevada minerals. Detailed descriptions of minerals and their locations by county. 30 dedicated pages of photographs.

Christiansen, Eric and Kenneth Hamblin. Dynamic Earth: An Introduction to Physical Geology (Burlington, Massachusetts: Jones & Bartlett Learning, 2015)

Current geology textbook, although several errors not yet acknowledged by the writers. Worth buying if an inexpensive used copy can be found and if an online errata sheet will be issued. $170 new.

Christiansen, Page. The Story of Mining in New Mexico. (Socorro, New Mexico: New Mexico Bureau of Mines & Mineral Resources, 1974)

The definitive historical work on mining in New Mexico. Written for the layperson. Available as a free download from here: https://geoinfo.nmt.edu/publications/guides/scenictrips/12/

Chronic, Halka and Lucy Chronic. Pages of Stone 2d. ed. (Seattle, Washington: The Mountaineers Books, 2004) Subtitled, “Geology of the Grand Canyon & Plateau Country National Parks & Monuments.”

Invaluable road trip book for traveling the Southwest. Explains the geology behind 24 National Parks and Monuments. Well-illustrated, much more than their roadside geology books.

Chronic, Halka and Lucy Chronic. Pages of Stone (Seattle, Washington: The Mountaineers Books, 1986) Subtitled, “Geology of Western National Parks and Monuments.”

This covers the Desert Southwest. Another essential. A look at basin and range territory from the tip of southern Idaho to Mexico.

Chronic, Halka. Roadside Geology of Arizona (Missoula, Montana: Mountain Press, 1983)

Classic description of Arizona’s geology. Don’t be bothered by the date, the landscape hasn’t changed much in thirty years, except to development. As with all road guides, these titles are best understood when read by a navigator or companion as a trip goes along.

Chronic, Halka. Roadside Geology of New Mexico (Missoula, Montana: Mountain Press, 1987)

Another good one from Halka who divides New Mexico into three geologic provinces. The New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources, on the other hand, splits the state into five parts. This author’s guide to rockhounding follows the latter course.

DeLong, Brad. 4-Wheel Freedom – The Art of Off-Road Driving (Boulder, Colorado: Paladin Press, 2000)

DeLong wrote the Bible on off pavement. His lessons are old and mostly still current. Choosing a rig, 4-wheel basics, packing the vehicle, airing down for mud and sand, crossing streams, and on and on. As the kids say, “It’s all good.” Actually, it’s all great.

Durham, Michael. The Smithsonian Guide to Historic America-The Desert States (New York: Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 1990)

While not focused on geology, this book does cover the tone and temperament of the Southwest. Background material.

Eckert, Allan. Earth Treasures Volume 4A – The Southwestern Quadrant (Lincoln, Nebraska: iUniverse, 2000)

Eckert, Allan. Earth Treasures Volume 4B – The Southwestern Quadrant (Lincoln, Nebraska: iUniverse, 2000)

Reprinted in 2000, these books were originally written in 1987. Both “A” and “B” are needed to cover the entire Southwest. At first read, it seems Eckert explored more ground than Kit Carson or John C. Fremont. This inveterate rockhound collected in nearly every county in nearly every state. In New Mexico, he missed only five counties, in Arizona, none. In Nevada, none. He collected in all 58 counties of California.

Eckert shows all locations with snippets of road maps overlaid with partial township, range and section information. Atlases of each state with that information are therefore required, or individual maps by the dozen. In some cases, his directions are sufficient by themselves. Although his books were first copyrighted in 1987, their written date remains a mystery. He lists Ormsby County in Nevada, for example, although that county was renamed in 1969. Today, collecting is probably prohibited at many of his recommended sites, perhaps the majority. But Eckert’s works are a good guide to collecting areas in general, pointing to heavily mineralized ground or places with an established mining history.

Greer, Ira, ed. Glossary of Weather and Climate (Boston: American Meteorological Society, 1996)

Authoritative and well done. A weather dictionary. Get it.

Harris, Richard. Hidden Southwest (Berkeley, California: Ulysses Press, 2004)

Background on traveling the Southwest. Non-essential and dated but a good read.

Howell, J.V., ed? Glossary of Geology and Related Sciences (Washington, D.C.: American Geological Association, 1957.)

Best geology dictionary I have ever read. Miserably small type. Proper dictionary writing by a strong, seasoned dictionary editor, identity unknown. Gives many word origins along with the use of a term in a sentence. Tough, technical words are explained in plain English, making geology’s difficult vocabulary at approachable.

Now dated and lacking the latest terms, it stands as the last, literate geology dictionary made. Geologists controlled every dictionary after this, technically astute but always struggling to put their profession into understandable English. Bates and Jackson substantially revised and updated this title in 1980 but took the life out of the writing so filling the 1957 work.

Johnson, Mark. The Ultimate Desert Handbook (New York: Ragged Mountain Press / McGraw Hill, 2003)

A valuable read with countless tips and techniques to managing time in the desert. Much spent on foot travel and navigating thereby. But, also good information on vehicle travel as well. First aid and things that bite in the desert.

Johnson, Maureen. Placer Gold Deposits of Arizona (Washington, D.C.: Geological Survey Bulletin 1355) https://pubs.er.usgs.gov/publication/b1355

A hardcopy reprint from Del Oeste Press in Tarzana includes a fold-out map, much superior to the online map. Del Oeste reprinted many, many guides to placer deposits in the Western United States. Avoid any copy of Bulletin 1355 printed on-demand as these may not contain the fold-out map.

Johnson, Robert. Nevada-Utah Gem Atlas (Susanville, California: Cy Johnson & Sons, 1978)

Another gem trail guide worth having if inexpensive.

King, Vandall. A Collectors Guide to the Granite Pegmatite (Atglen, Pennsylvania: Schiffer Publishing, 2010)

Focuses on granitic gem pegmatites but many principles applicable to all pegmatites. Great colored line drawing illustrating a gem pegmatite pocket. Every Schiffer Earth Science Monographs are worth having. Heavy on great photographs; I don’t see how they make money from these books. Inexpensive used.

Klien, James. Where to Find Gold in The Desert (Baldwin Park, California: Gem Guides Book Company, 1994)

This happily titled book focuses primarily on California, with a brief look at other Southwestern States. Fairly vague locale descriptions and this is a pre-GPS book. Pointing to general areas is all an author can do. Exact occurrences are either hidden or claimed, instead, a prospector must range widely, putting time in over a large area.

Knoerr, Alvin and George Lutjen. Prospecting for Atomic Minerals (New York: McGraw Hill, 1955)

Retro-prospecting. Written when the United States had a bounty on finding uranium ore in paying quantities. When two men would set out for a month with “fifty pounds of flour, forty pounds of bacon and pork, six pounds of butter and six pounds of beans.” Oh, and 30 pounds of sugar! The authors may not have been gourmets but they could sure write an entertaining and informative book.

Lauf, Robert. Introduction to Radioactive Minerals (Atglen, Pennsylvania: Schiffer Publishing, 2008)

Wonderful photographs and authoritative text mark this the book the one to buy when putting together a radioactive ore collection. Which everyone should assemble. . .

Lincoln, Francis. Mining Districts and Mineral Resources of Nevada Reprinted ed. (Las Vegas, Nevada: Nevada Publications, 1982)

Typical reprint of mining district information. This one has an excellent, easy to use chapter on rock, gem, and mineral by county. Others have this information obscured in the entry for each district. Large paper maps of mining districts, by-the-way, are often available from a state’s geology bureau.

Lynch, Bob and Dan Lynch. Arizona Rocks and Minerals (Cambridge, Minnesota: Adventure Publications, 2010)

Excellent publication with real-life photographs and generalized locality maps. Highly recommended for use throughout the Southwest.

Lynch, Dan. Rock Collecting for Kids: An Introduction to Geology (Cambridge, Minnesota: Adventure Publications, 2018)

Terrific book for kids of all ages. An easy entry into a complex subject.

Magnuson, Jim. Gemstone Tumbling, Cutting, Drilling & Cabochon Making (Cambridge, Minnesota: Adventure Publications, 2015)

This book takes you from rough to refined. From a stone picked off the ground, Magnuson goes through every step needed to rock into rock art. Really good.

Massey, Peter, Angela Titus, Jeanne Wilson. Nevada Trails: Southern Region (Parker, Colorado: APC Publishing, 2015)

Describes many off-pavement roads and tracks that often go by old mines. Good advice on selecting an off-road vehicle. Gives every road or tour a difficulty rating. Recommended.

Mottana, Annibale; Rodolfo Crespi and Giuseppe Liborio. Simon and Schuster’s Guide to Rocks and Minerals (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1978)

Authoritative and frequently cited. Widely available and inexpensive used. Beware of broken spines. Tremendous variety of rocks and minerals covered. No fossils. Difficult for the beginner. Small size makes it impossible to lay flat and to easily browse. Good photographs but see Proctor (below) for better images, if fewer in number.

Page, Jake. The Smithsonian Guides to Natural America: The Southwest: New Mexico – Arizona (Washington D.C.: Smithsonian Books, 1995)

Pearl, Richard. Colorado Gem Trails and Mineral Guide 3rd ed. (Chicago: Swallow Press, 1972)

Excellent book with maps detailed enough to follow today, provided listed roads are still open. Detailed references. Heavy emphasis on mineral collecting.

Pearl, Richard. Handbook for Prospectors 5th ed. (New York: McGraw Hill, 1973)

Dated and excellent prospecting book. Pearl did everything, went everywhere. Enough remains true to warrant buying. An entertaining and informative read.

Powell, Darryl. Rocks, Minerals & Crystals: A Collecting and Coloring Book (Gem Guides Book Company: Baldwin Park, California, 2017)

Great book for kids to color and learn from. Represents most material in idealized form, rather than the way it is pulled from the ground. Still a good book for present crystals in all their forms. Link to the publisher at the top of this text.

Proctor, Dean and P. Robert Peterson. Mineral-Rock Handbook (Sandy, Utah: Paulmar Publishers, 1989)

The best mineral and rock photographs in an everyday guide. Features large image sizes, especially helpful with identification. The spine is broken on my copy, be carefulto get an intact copy.

Rambo, Katherine. The World Came to Tucson (Tucson, Arizona: Stanegate Press, 2014)

History of the largest rock, gem, and mineral show in the world. Held each year, Rambo details its origin and continuation. Good background for anyone going.

Ransom, Jay. Arizona Gem Trails and the Colorado Desert of California (Portland: Mineralogist Publishing Company, 1955)

If the price is right.

Ransom, Jay. The Gold Hunter’s Field Book (New York: Harper & Row, 1975)

State by state and province by province descriptions of collecting areas. Good, general advice on gold and prospecting for same.

Sano, Jennifer. Gems & Minerals of The Southwest (Tucson, Arizona: Rio Nuevo Publishers, 2009) A very pretty book. Photographs by the famed rock, gem and mineral photographer Jeffrey Scovil. Photographs represent high-end collection and museum pieces. Detailed information on each subject, including metaphysical notes.

Schneider, Stuart. The World of Fluorescent Minerals (Atglen, Pennsylvania: Schiffer Publishing, 2006)

Part of Schiffer’s Book for Collectors series. Really nice.

Simpson, Bessie. New Mexico Gem Trails Revised ed. (Granbury, Texas: Gem Trails Publishing Company, 1965)

Straight, Jim. Nuggestshooting Dryplacer Areas 4th ed. (Rialto, California: Jim Straight, 1994)

No better prospector and writer than Jim Straight has ever come along. Technically challenging at times, Straight’s information applies to all metal detectors and dry washers. They are not product manuals, instead they teach everything needed to locate gold with any equipment the prospector owns.

Straight, Jim. Advanced Prospecting & Detecting for Hardrock Gold 4th ed. (Rialto, California: Jim Straight, 1998)

One could become a gold geologist by understanding everything Straight writes about in this book. Emphasis on research before traveling and on seeking areas little prospected. Depending on price, everything written by Straight is worth buying.

Thrush, Paul, ed. A Dictionary of Mining, Mineral, and Related Terms (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1968)

Eight pounds of awesome, this 1,269-page boat anchor of a book belongs in the library of anyone seriously interested in all things rock related. Bates’ Dictionary of Geological Terms (above) should be the first choice of the beginning rockhound but this title, though dated, is a classic. Make sure the spine isn’t cracked and don’t overpay.

Ungnade, Herbert. Guide to the New Mexico Mountains (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1965)

The essential work on the mountains of New Mexico. Hampered somewhat by a few difficult to follow black and white illustrations. But in general, the graphics are good. Many worthwhile reflections on New Mexico mining, especially by first peoples. Worth getting.

Wilburn, James. Prospecting for Gold Mines (Mesa: Arizona Specialty Printing, 1984)

A favorite. Wilburn describes well the essentials of gold prospecting. He’s intense. He’s not looking to pick up a few flakes or nuggets, this work is fixed on finding enough to start a mine.

Wilson, James. A Collector’s Guide to Rock, Mineral & Fossil Localities of Utah (Salt Lake City: Utah Geological Survey, 1995)

Available free online but best in hardcopy, this is an extremely well-organized work. Takes the rockhound through geology and identification basics and then lists rocks, gems, minerals and fossils county by county. All books should be this well laid out.

Woodmencey, Jim. Weather in the Southwest (Tucson, Arizona: Southwest Parks and Monuments Association, 2001)

Short, well-illustrated book on Southwest weather basics. Not essential but don’t bypass it at a good price.

Wooley, Alan and Arthur Bishop. The Henry Holt Guide to Minerals, Rocks and Fossils (New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1989)

Another field guide, another presentation on collecting and identification. Worth having. Avoid cracked spines.


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This Might be My Last Post for A While

Since I finished what I could of my travel book series, I am now turning to other things. My back has to heal up better and I probably should spend more time indoors to help that along.

I’m now spending quite a bit of time contributing by better photos to Wikimedia, the photo repository for Wikimedia. I am placing all of these photos in the public domain, with no restrictions on their use or any need to credit me. I could explain why but that would take several more paragraphs to describe. You can go over to my writing site if you want to know more.

One has to register with Wikimedia first, upload and describe a photo according to their requirements, and then place a link to it at an appropriate Wikipedia page. I thought the dashboards and the interface the two groups used were too intimidating but it’s not that difficult once you go through it. Just takes time.

I saw there were no photos at Wikipedia on the Nopah Range in Inyo County. None taken while in that range at least, just two photos from the valley floor. I added a photo gallery of some of my pictures to this page:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nopah_Range

Update! Wikipedia does not want to be an image gallery. An editor kindly told me this and we are going to rework that page. Only a few photos should show at a Wikipedia entry, the rest can sit quietly at Wikipedia Commons to be used in other articles and to be searchable as a whole.

Back to my original post:

It took most of this morning to get my Nopah photos up but they are now permanently posted at Wikimedia Commons where they await somebody 12 years from now to do a report. Many photos I am going to post have been seen here but not organized, not full sized, and not with a copyright release.

Seeing no photos of a wild Red Rock Canyon desert tortoise, I added my four tortoise photos to this page:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Rock_Canyon_National_Conservation_Area

Here’s what I did for the Darwin, California entry:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darwin,_California

Update (again) That entry above has been changed. The emphasis on Wikipedia is not to create image galleries. I am learning this as I go and I remain very positive about contributing to Wikipedia and Wikipedia Commons. Be prepared, however, to have an editor watching your work and correcting it. That’s only fair, every writer needs an editor.

Back to the original article:

I’d encourage you, too, to build up what’s called the inverted pyramid of knowledge. With Wikipedia and Wikimedia, everyone can.

I wish you good health until my next report.


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My New Mexico Chapter is Now Out

The Arizona and New Mexico chapters of my now halted book project is out. Places to go, things to do, stuff to pick off the ground. If anything is open these days, Still, plenty of open USFS and BLM managed ground to run around in.

The first two new chapters are at my SW Travel Page, which also has more abbreviated documents covering the entire Southwest.

I hope to get the Nevada Chapter out next.





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Site News and What’s Coming Next

I hope you and yours are well and safe. Nevadans are still free to move about the state, even here in Las Vegas in Clark County. As such, I am getting out as much as I can while I can.

With many of you staying at home, I will be posting much more often. In addition to reporting on whatever day trips I take now, I will be posting photographs from my travels across the Southwest that I have taken over the last three years. They won’t be well processed or described in too much detail (this is the greatest time killer with photography) but they will be something interesting to look at. Until my server space runs out, these will be full size images that you can download and use in any way you like without a need to credit me or worry about copyright restrictions.

As far as my health, I badly wrenched my back two weeks ago while working on my truck. I took aspirin for two days and then admitted defeat by turning myself into an Emergency Room at three in the morning. Since then I have visited three more medical facilities, each time getting good care but also exposing myself to whatever might be in the air. It’s a bit worrisome.

My injury somehow produces pain from my lower back to the sole of my left foot. I have no pain for ninety percent of the time unless I move the wrong way. Walking around and staying active helps if I am careful. Somehow, I can still do cautious, slow hiking up hills without much discomfort. I don’t understand this. On the other hand, I stiffen up so much at night that when I get out of bed in the morning I am screaming in pain. Literally. I have an appointment with a physical therapist soon.

What else?

My book project is taking up too much of my time and patience. I am a perfectionist and I wanted this hardcopy book to look a certain way and to be in a spiral bound format to lay flat. Bringing this about has caused me to waste too much time indoors. As such, I will be roughly formatting the document and then releasing it for free, chapter by chapter. The Arizona chapter is 70 pages by itself. I don’t know whether I will put it out as a .pdf or a Word doc. I will be locking down the content in some form, my one restriction for the time and effort it has taken to produce this writing.

I’m going to try to get back to Railroad Pass today to try to source some andesite for a friend who is looking for it. Unfortunately, it may not be there, despite the simple geological map that I was using previously from Macrostrat.org. I pulled the official USGS geological map for the area and the real outcroppings of andesite are miles distant and off pavement. See the image below, “Ta” stands for andesite. Scattered occurrences of andesite may occur at Railroad Pass since maps cannot locate every rock. But again, andesite is quite a bit away and I shouldn’t go off pavement too far since I can no longer change a tire on my own. I also have other reasons to return to Mountain Pass which I will detail later.

I hope all of you are well and safe.



This is Macrostrat’s simplified description of the hill I was on at Railroad Pass.

Harding Pegmatite Mine

Random photos of the Harding Pegmatite Mine in Taos County, New Mexico. Some of these might have been posted before, some of them may have been downsized at one time. Follow the link I just gave, many more details there. More pictures to come.

















Visitation rights are now subject to change because of the virus. Check the University’s websites. And check my current places to visit travel list for attractions around the area. Subject to when we can all travel again, of course, and with the hope our rock shops have not gone out of business.

Harding Pegmatite Mine

Between Taos and Santa Fe along NM 75. Bring all your maps.

The Harding Pegmatite Mine is a former rare minerals quarry located in Taos County. Now maintained by the University of New Mexico, the Pegmatite Mine is open to rockhounds for no fee. Five pounds of material may be taken provided guidelines are followed. Large groups must pay a fee and they need to call ahead.

Visitors must fill out a release form available at the mine’s website. Follow the University’s instructions exactly as it will be necessary to fetch the caretaker before entering the mine. The road to the first mine gate is short and passable by passenger vehicles. Parking is extremely limited at this first gate. No trailers or RVs. If the gate is open, a larger parking lot is farther along the road.

Pegmatites are unusual and interesting rocks igneous rocks, originating from volcanic activity. At the Harding Mine, white sparkling rock is all around, some with pink tints, often with gray or darker inclusions. The pegmatite is the white rock, the various colors and inclusions the minerals. These can be quite unusual, needing an expert to identify them. Bityite, eucryptite, and fluorapatite are some. More common is the pink tinged lepidolite.

A lepidolite tinged rock showing nice pink coloring is a challenging but satisfying project on a warm day in the beautiful hill country of Taos. If possible, bring a short wave and longwave lamp, along with a barbecue lid cover. Hunting fluorescent rocks enlarges searching beyond what appears in daylight.

Print the “Walking Tour for the Harding Pegmatite Mine” file before visiting. It references the numbered markers that are spotted about the quarry.

If possible, a tour of the old quarry should start at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque in Northrop Hall, home to UNM’s Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences. A museum in Room 124 displays specimens from the mine. A dimly lit case on the first floor also exhibits specimens, including a large chunk of beryl. In that case, notice how one rock seems to intergrade with others. The rose muscovite, the lepidolite, and the spodumene all seem variations on a theme. What’s not obvious is the sparkling nature of some of the rocks, which comes into play in bright light.

The mine’s entrance off Highway 75 is on a strong uphill grade and is difficult to find. There is no sign indicating the mine road, save for a small wood plaque on a juniper asking people to pack out their trash. On a fair day, you will be caught up in looking at the surrounding countryside. This is the land D.H. Lawrence fell in love with and you will, too.

36°11.890′ N 105°47.346′ W

This link is for the mine tour.pdf and the release form:

http://epswww.unm.edu/harding-mine/

The Taos hill country is populated with artist studios, wineries, and scattered Indian Pueblos. Cottonwoods in the fall blaze yellow along streams and other watercourses. It is a delight in fair weather. Iceland spar may still exist in the area, check Mindat.org for possible locations and MyLandMatters.org for land status.

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New Book Update

Work continues on my new book and I am making good progress on the writing and illustrations. The difficulties of bringing it to print, though, may  delay or completely shut down the project.

My intent was to go through Amazon’s self publishing service, however, they don’t offer a coil or spiral bound option. My book is a field and road trip guide, something to take along in a car or truck. Something that would lay flat and not close itself like a conventional book.

Lulu.com does offer that option and I have been considering them. But I’ve been reading a detailed blog post on one man’s experience that seems extremely distressing:

https://perishablepress.com/desktop-publishing-survival-tips-on-demand-book-printing-at-lulucom/

Essentially, he exactingly formatted a .pdf to Lulu’s specifications, only to find their presses could not reproduce his work with that specificity. His first proof copy came out bad, the second, worse. Everything in his first proof was shifted up and to the left, leaving his carefully plotted margins worthless. Again, the second proof was worse. I could not go through this.

His advice is that Lulu might be great for a simple book with wide margins on every page, but for anything beyond that, forget it.

“Lulu.com is great for simple print jobs with WIDE margins of error, but for high-precision, detail-oriented printing, they just don’t cut it.”

My book would use double columns as with my old magazine. I know the look I want and I am finicky. I have a question into Lulu that has so far gone unanswered. The blog poster, Jeff Starr, also mentions terrible customer support. To be fair to Lulu, he did go through the entire process with them so he knows what he is writing about.

I mentioned my magazine. I had a local printing company run off copies of it and they were very good. I later had a printing company in Point Arena, California, publish a few issues and they were also excellent. But both were extremely expensive; good printing isn’t cheap and they want their money up front.

Today, in 2020, we live in the world of print-on-demand. Somebody orders a copy of a self published book done through Amazon and Amazon fulfills the order by printing it and drop shipping it to the customer. No up front costs as Amazon takes their cut when a book sells. Great. As long as what you have produced comes out the way that you want it.  At a price someone can afford.  I will continue looking around for a coil bound publisher with a good reputation.

Another choice comes to mind which is totally contradictory to my previous publishing experience. This would involve buying an enterprise level copier and then running off the copies myself. People could buy the title using PayPal and I would mail it off myself. This shouldn’t work.

Traditional printing presses win because the cost per page decreases with volume. Ink is fairly cheap, just let the press run.

Ink cartridges, on the other hand, never decrease in price as page count goes up. There is no economy of scale possible with an ink cartridge, your cost per page is always set. But there may be another way to work around this.

Amazon and Barnes and Nobles and most other distributors take at least 40% of a book’s cover price. This is standard and has been for decades in the book trade. Magazines, too.

A twenty dollar book, therefore, would result in $12 net to me. What if I took that missing eight dollars and threw it into buying a copier and cartridges and a maintenance contract? I’d control the entire process and could produce the title exactly the way I wanted. Much to think about, as the mechanics and economics of publishing are now getting in the way.

All of this is avoided when you work under contract with a traditional publisher, not a vanity press.  My experience with traditional publishing though, was a disaster as I have written about before. I tried traditional, with the largest field guide publisher in the United States. 14 months under contract, only to have them change the book title, its orientation, and its release date without ever consulting me. That MS I submitted remains unpublished.

I now have no help with design or production or costs. This is better, though, that dealing  with people I can’t trust. If I self publish, well, at least I can trust myself.



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Version 9 of the Southwest Travel List is Out!

My latest list of Places to Visit and Collect in the Southwest is the best ever.  This post may say Version 9 but I have since done Revision 10.

https://southwestrockhounding.com/sw-travel-list/

Or get it here:

Version 10, November 6,  2019

This page always has the latest version of my Places to Visit and Collect in the Southwest. (And beyond!)

.pdf (Printing and desktop work)

Version 10 , November 6, 2019

SW_Places_To_Visit_Or_Collect_10A_

 

 

 

.mobi (Kindle format for mobile devices):

Version 10, November 6, 2019 

SW Places To Visit Or Collect 10 – Tom Farley


 

 

 

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Annotated Reading List of Rock Related Titles

List with comments of books I used in writing and researching my now dead book project. Nine page .pdf.

Recommended_Rock_Reading

 

 

 

I’ve learned .pdf files aren’t mobile friendly. If you want to try an experiment, see if you can open this epub file. An iphone should open it in iBooks, the native Apple e-book reader. If you don’t have that, there are a number of free epub readers from different app stores. On my phone this file becomes extremely useful, no more pan an scan, pinch and zoom.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/uq3xkxiouqhwdm1/reading_and_resources_08_16_2018.epub?dl=0

Tell me if you can open it: thomasfarley@fastmail.com

 

 


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Version 3 is Out!

Version 3 of my Places to Visit and Collect in the Southwest is out, emphasizing central New Mexico. I update information on the Trinity Site at the White Sands National Monument, Blanchard’s Rock shop in Bingham, and the mineral museum in Socorro. Clickable links in the document to photo galleries at my Patreon site.

You can download the file by clicking here:

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Rock Related Places to Visit and Collect in The Southwest

This 1.4 meg .pdf contains descriptions and locations of rock shops, fee/digs, BLM and USFS district offices, museums, traditional collecting areas, and many more rock related places in the United Southwest.

Seventy pages from my book. Already in its second revision. Discard previous files and keep checking back for the current file.

Please distribute freely but make sure to send in corrections and additions. Thanks!

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