How Texas History Books Are Made

“Rare works of Texas history brought back to life”

If you’ve been to CopanoBayPress.com, you’ve seen that slogan on our masthead.

What exactly does it mean?

​​​​​​​We bring back obscure Texas books, prints and maps that were published in the 19th and early 20th centuries. 

By far, the most labor intensive part of our mission is reviving old books.

Once we discover a book that might meet our standards, I track down a copy of and give it a first reading. Then I do any research that needs to be done for annotations, additional material, etc., and I get to work on the design.

The design phase includes everything from what the dust jacket will look like to choosing a typeface that matches the voice of the author and makes the book more readable.

This phase also includes any bonus that will be included with the limited edition of the book, be it a map, a print, a coin, or whatever fits the book. 

Having read the book through once, I already have a feel for the author’s tone and attitude, so I then design a jacket to put a “face” on the book, if you will. 

Then the words begin. 

The type is completely re-set digitally from the original hard copy of the book. The first round of editing actually happens while I set the type. As each paragraph is laid down, I check it for odd commas, missing words, sentence structure, etc.

A lot of the books we do were privately published at the expense of the author 150 years ago…and he likely did not have an editor other than perhaps his wife. 

While I don’t change the author’s original voice or intent, I do as much in the first round as I possibly can to make it readable to 21st century people. Victorian commas and Edwardian semicolons don’t play well with modern eyes. 

Once this is done, we have a book with a “face” (dust jacket) and a page count. 

Then I put the book through my little pre-flight checklist and I print a copy here at the office. I take that copy and my purple editing pen with me everywhere, reading each page for content, spelling, grammar, white space issues and the like. 

After the final edits are done and the corrections made, the order is sent to the printer/bindery. All our offerings are 100% made in the USA. We would rather go out of business than print Texas history books in China (unlike certain “Texas” publishers.)

While the books are in transit, limited edition numbers are assigned and logged, and dust jackets are printed in-house to your specifications. 

Once the books arrive, books and customized jackets meet up…and they head out to their new homes.

It’s a heck of a process, now that I look at it written down. I don’t think I’ve explained it to anyone but my banker before, beginning to end, in one sitting. Heck, I don’t think my Mom and Dad even understand my job! But if you’ve made it this far, you do. 

Why do we offer limited editions of the book first?

As you can see, making books the right way takes a huge amount of time. Offering the personalized limited edition of 254 copies (one for each county in Texas) allows us to recoup that large investment of time and treasure.

The buyers of the limited edition are the patrons of history who make our continued mission possible.

Once the limited edition is sold out, the standard edition goes to press, and is thereafter a permanent part of out catalog, available for the enlightenment of modern Texans.

We’ve been doing this for almost fifteen years and have been through this process over forty times. And we’ll keep doing it as long as there are people who still care about Texas history.

Click here to see our books (there’s 4 pages of them)

Speak Your Piece: