RMS Aquitania The Ship Beautiful

Dec 2, 2000
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Mark, I recieved the same notice from Amazon.uk just the other day with a promise that they'll keep on trying to get it. Since it has gone to the printers, I doubt I'll have to wait that much longer. Certainly not until February.
 

Steven Hall

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Dec 17, 2008
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Keeping writing books and I'll have to allow a full shelf for them. A prolific writer indeed. The thing is with his publications, they are all good. There are simply no ‘B’ side books with him. I said 5 years ago, Mark was (is) an author to watch.
 
Jan 5, 2001
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If in doubt, Amazon are always wrong.
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Russell, maybe I should start bribing people to give me good reviews? (Or, rather: continue to bribe people!) You could then *earn* from them.
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Thanks for your kind words, Steve. I fear your shelf is going to have to take even more weight over the next few years.

Best wishes,

Mark.
 
Aug 8, 2007
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Hi Mark,

One reason that I question Amazon.ca's knowledge of release dates is that I see on their site that Senan Molony's book "Titanic, Victims and Villains" shows a release date of Mar. 1, 2009. I then go to the Amazon.uk site and it indicates that the same book was released Mar 11, 2008, and there are already several customer reviews for the book, so it appears that it has in fact been released in the UK, but us Canadians can't get it here through Amazon.

By the way Mark, if you keep writing books like the ones you have written so far, maybe I could set up a sideline business of glowing book reviews!

Take care!
Russell
 
Jan 5, 2001
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I know the feeling, Russell!

I can confirm that the Senan Molony book has been released, as I think I first saw a copy at the BTS convention in April. I have a copy myself so it's certainly been published now, whatever the release date.

I'm always happy to encourage entrepreneurship.
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Whenever a new book of mine hits the shelves, I am always petrified that the reviewers are going to totally slate it, so it's going to be a pleasant surprise if they are only severely critical! I am very pleased at how Aquitania turned out, given the commercial restrictions on this type of product, but if people only buy it for the pictures then I am happy.

Best wishes,

Mark.
 

Steven Hall

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Dec 17, 2008
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"Thanks for your kind words, Steve. I fear your shelf is going to have to take even more weight over the next few years."

Mark, keep sending me those cheques and I'll keep saying how good your books are. LOL.
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Dec 2, 2000
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>>given the commercial restrictions on this type of product,<<

What commercial restrictions? Can't say as I'm up to speed on this aspect of publishing.

>>but if people only buy it for the pictures then I am happy.<<

The photos alone make anything I've seen from your pen worth the price. Information hog that I am, I'm as happy as a clam with the text as well.
 
Jan 5, 2001
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Your cheque is in the post, Steve.
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quote:

>>given the commercial restrictions on this type of product,<<

What commercial restrictions? Can't say as I'm up to speed on this aspect of publishing.
Where do you want me to start, Michael?

There are a number of general considerations, as I indicated on my website:

quote:

There is always a trade off between competing objectives when writing and producing a book. In an ideal world, Aquitania deserves a huge, full colour hardback book with numerous foldout plans and other features, as well as all the gorgeous (and expensive) images held by museums and archival repositories around the world, yet the expense of producing such a book is not one that any publisher would appear to deem acceptable. It is, after all, necessary to make a profit for a commercial firm open to the full blast of market forces. It is also necessary to strike a balance - between human stories and technical detail; between text and pictures; between original research and older yet relevant material; between her war and peacetime service; and so on. Different people will want different things from the book. Subject to those compromises, it is hoped that RMS Aquitania: The ‘Ship Beautiful’ will do the ship’s history justice, and offer some enjoyment to everyone interested in this grand old lady.

http://www.markchirnside.co.uk/rms_aquitania_bookdelay2008.htm
Naturally, it would be nice to produce a large, hardback, full colour history of Aquitania in the same format as the lovely Don Lynch and Ken Marschall book, Titanic: An Illustrated History. However, if a publisher does not feel that the expense would generate enough profit, then they will not want to go to those lengths.

I can give a specific example. If you have Les Streater's Berengaria book, published in 2001, and my own Majestic book, published five years later, then you will see that they are the same size. However, the number of pages (which are in 24 page increments) has been cut from 120 to 96. The Aquitania book will also have 96 pages. It seems that increased printing and materials costs mandated this reduction, meaning that there is only so much space available for text and images. As a result, this means a combination of fewer words, fewer images, or the images being reproduced at a smaller size than if 120 pages or even 144 pages had been available. When we consider that Aquitania saw thirty-six years of service, whereas Majestic only saw seventeen (including her stint as a training ship), then it's very clear that I have had to bear that restriction in mind.

My comments above are something of an idealist view as to what a book could be. In the real world, it's necessary to compromise, and it's subject to that compromise that I am proud to say that I think it is the best book I could have produced in these circumstances. It isn't perfect, but then nothing in life is...maybe I should stop trying to make it so.

Best wishes,

Mark.​
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>maybe I should stop trying to make it so.<<

Respectfully disagree with that...to a point.

The reason I like your work in the first place is precisely because you do your best. If you have to compromise and what you include, you haven't compromised on the quality of what you put in. That puts you head and shoulders above the rest of the pack who will throw in any old wives tale along with a collection of miscaptioned photos and hope that nobody will notice. So long as you keep up with that practice, you should continue to do well. Do it long enough and eventually, you'll have the clout to do the sort of book that you want.

In a perfect world, you would be able to do something like Titanic The Ship Magnificent with every ship you do a history on, and I know you're capable of doing just that. The problem of course is that this is not a perfect world. You just have to do the best you can to strike a balance.

Just keep fighting the good fight and I'll always join the queue to snap up anything maritime you put out.
 
Jan 5, 2001
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I appreciate your very kind words, Michael, and particularly your words of encouragement. (Your custom is very much appreciated also.
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As I see things, there would be no point embarking on a project if I did not want to give it my best shot. It's more an indictment of a bad product if there are those sort of errors, than an indication of a good product because images have been captioned correctly, although I know from painful experience that it is impossible to avoid some mistake slipping through the net.

Best wishes,

Mark.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>As I see things, there would be no point embarking on a project if I did not want to give it my best shot.<<

That's how I see it. The problem with a bad product is that everybody sees it and it comes back to haunt you.
 
Jan 5, 2001
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I am not entirely sure what the supply situation is, but I learned last week that the publisher's stock of the Aquitania book is exhausted.

The first print run has sold out, so we are having to reprint it. I assume there are still some copies 'in stock' at the THS store. In any event, a reprint should solve any issues within the next few weeks.

Best wishes,

Mark.
 

Tad G. Fitch

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Dec 31, 2005
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Great news about the second printing Mark, this is one that's been on my list that I need to get around to buying finally.

All my best,
Tad