The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 11, Number 35, August 31, 2008, Article 9


Last week I asked our readers about numismatic books offered only in electronic format. Here are the responses. -Editor

Roger deWardt Lane of Hollywood, Florida writes:
In 2003 I wrote a letter to ANS Librarian Frank Campbell sending him a copy of my new CD-ROM book and offering to send him all the CD's I had collected to study what other people in coins were storing on CD. I did send them to him including a 20 disc holder. From my experience, the creation of CDs either commercially or self-produced was a great idea during the period these were issued. But as the Internet became more available, most of the products put out on CD (slide shows, data bases, or book formats) were not very cost effective and most were discontinued. Based on my experience with print-on-demand publishing, it seems a far better way to distribute a book (or as I also have done, put it up on the Internet for download, either for a fee or free).

Roger's list included 24 numismatic CDs produced from 1993 through 2003. Eleven of these were Heritage auction catalogs, starting with the October 2000 Long Beach sale. Besides Roger's Brother Can You Spare a Dime? book, the list included Michael Fey's Top 100 Morgan Dollar Varieties and the Charleton Standard Catalogues of Canadian Government Paper Money 10th edition and Canadian Coins 52nd edition.

In publications apparently on CD only were World of Money, Interactive Exploration of Money Worldwide from Ancient Times to the Present Day by the Department of Coins & Medals, British Museum (1996). -Editor

Tom Michael of F+W Publications writes:
You asked about books on CD format. All of the books we have been releasing on Disc are DVD format. This would include the following:

Standard Catalog of World Coins 1901-Date - Three DVD set, including the 5th edition 1801-1900, 35th edition 1901-2000 and the 2nd edition 2001-Date (this was our first DVD offering)

14th edition Standard Catalog of World Paper Money - Modern Issues - 1961-Present - released as a book with DVD and as a stand alone package

36th edition 2009 Standard Catalog of World Coins 1901-2000 - released as a book with DVD and as a DVD stand alone package

3rd edition 2009 Standard Catalog of World Coins 2001-Date - released as a book with DVD

7th edition 2009 U.S. Coin Digest - released as a book with DVD and as a DVD stand alone package

Coming later this year will also be:

12th edition Standard Catalog of World Paper Money - General Issues - 1368-1960 - released as a book with DVD and as a stand alone package and 4th edition Standard Catalog of World Coins 1601-1700 - released as a book with DVD

Most collectors are familiar with our books, some use our DVD's and many use our NumisMaster website. We have been evolving our focus from print products alone, to a broader offering in various media. We want everyone to have access to our data through whatever media form they find most useful.

I was actually looking for information on numismatic books offered ONLY on CD (or DVD) and not at all in print. But this is useful information. -Editor

Tom adds:
At present we do not offer any numismatic books exclusively on DVD alone. This has been talked about and will most likely come into play in the future. We sell fewer stand alone DVD's than we do books at present. It's a new type of product for us and we are still feeling out the market.

Because we chose to include a free DVD with all our books this year, is is hard to fully judge their popularity. Our intent was to get the data out there in digital form and get collectors used to this type of format. As a media company I am sure that we will be doing more products offering digital forms of data as the 21st Century progresses. It's a great way to make the data more flexible for individuals.

Books won't go away in our lifetimes, but many other forms for our coin data will surely emerge. Consider music - since the inception of recorded music, how many media forms have experienced popular use? Cylinders gave way to discs, 78's transitioned to 33 1/3's which competed with tape and eventually we got CD's. Now most people use MP3 digital format. Maybe some day I will have a little pocket device with the Standard Catalog of World Coins 1601-2020 in digital format?

Do any of our readers have the Kindle from Amazon? The wireless electronic book reader can quickly download entire books on demand from a large library of titles, and seems to have a growing following. -Editor

Wendell Wolka writes:
Unless a "sugar daddy" pops up somewhere, the second edition of my book on Indiana Obsolete Notes and Scrip will likely be a CD-only offering.

At something close to the size of my Ohio book and as a second edition of a previous work, I doubt that the market is big enough to support a hardbound book. In addition a CD offers all color photos, enlargements of same, and an easy to use search tool at no additional cost.

Wendell's book on Ohio Obsolete notes is one of the thickest single-volume numismatic works printed. Books that size (as well as later editions of previously printed works) do seem to lend themselves well to electronic versions. -Editor.

Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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