I’ve a selection of old Thai books at home – dictionaries, textbooks covering grammar, linguistics & etymology, plus various miscellaneous trinkets such as the official announcement of the appointment of Field Marshal Plaek Phibunsongkhram and his cabinet ministers, including Luang Wichitwathakan. I also have a few pieces of nationalist propaganda from around the time of World War 2. I’d like to share these books with a wider audience and have been thinking about how best to do so.
First I need to ensure they’re no longer copyrighted. Apparently, “the copyright term is the life of author plus 50 years” or “when the author is a legal entity […] the copyright term is 50 years from the date of publication”. So, the majority of these books are outside the copyright period. I still need to check on a few which have had recent printings (within about 20 years), even though the first publication was printed further back than the copyright duration.
The books need to be scanned first and most of them are too fragile for a normal desktop scanner. I’ve recently bought an OpticBook scanner which is more gentle on the book spine than a normal scanner but a few books need to be treated much more carefully. This scanner looks good, but I’ve no time to build it (looks expensive too) so I’ll try this cheaper version in the next month or so.
After scanning there will need to be a lot of editing. I estimate there’s a total of 3,000 pages to scan. Manually touching up all of those pages will take a lot of time. Hiring someone to do it isn’t an option and volunteers are unlikely to come forward – anyone? 😉 That leaves me a lot of Photoshopping to do.
As for distribution, and if the project gets that far, then print-on-demand looks promising. New printings would look good on a book shelf and it would help me recover my costs (I’m not looking to make a profit).
Let’s see how much time I have over the next few months. Updates to follow.