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Doble book by Jim Crank

Posted by Terry Williams 
Re: Doble book by Jim Crank
March 13, 2010 02:43PM
Hello Tom,

What kind of money to fund the book is being talked about here anyway? I have no idea what such things cost.

Thank you.

Bill G.
Re: Doble book by Jim Crank
March 13, 2010 04:42PM
Hi Jim,

a coupla quote's

Jim Crank
I have a real heartburn with these internet sites. I sent someone, who shall remain nameless, a VHS video of the Besler airplane film years ago. Now it is all over the internet. And the internet video is REALLY awful. No one respects copyrights at all, just plasters it all over the place.

Jim Crank
Well, Jeremy, I won't allow that to happen to the book material.

You make a good point Jim, I have my own site, and there's a few I have spotted that have reproduced content, Im lucky, since for the most part, these are well meaning folks.

The risk you speak of is very real. I have no doubt you have had experience with such things.

This is how I would handle the internet stuff if I were you. Get a domian name www.Doblexxxx.com register it in your name. If all else fails "you can" control the book material that way... Good hosting is like 7 buck's month and the domain name like 20 dollars a year or something like that. If the content is hosted on your server, there will be no confusion as to the original source (you), in that way, you alone reserve the right to protect the content from differentation of your vision. Books could still be published at a later date. These are just options...

Jim Crank

The Doble book is one hell of a lot more than just a chronology of the cars. It is a complete history of the Doble family in California from 1847 with grandfather Abner up to the end of the Besler era.
It is a complete technical history of each model, and each development and why, the family involvement, the water turbine business, the stock fraud trials, Abner and Warren's work in New Zealand, England and Germany with Price, Sentinel, Henschel and Borsig. All accompanied by well over 350 photos, plus government reports, translated German papers and such.
Then the Doble bus projects in Emeryville.
Then the stock fraud mess and why and how Bill Besler gained ownership and control of the Doble assets. That alone took over a year with a hired paralegal to straighten out.
The Besler development of the Series F cars.
The Stanley, Nordberg, Cleaver-Brooks and Greyhound bus powerplants. On through the McCulloch car and the Blakeborough and Alec Moulton car ideas.
Then the story of Bill Besler and the license to use the Doble control patents in 1925, on through his airplane, boat and car projects.

This is why it takes two 300 + page volumes with an appendix and lots of factory drawings and data.
I would say it is a lot more than just describing the cars.

Jim, when you describe what the Book is about, you make a good opportunity for both the reader and potental investors, to taste the idea.

If you keep things sustainable, at least your considerable amount of work on the book will not be lost.


Re: Doble book by Jim Crank
March 14, 2010 01:37AM

Not to be too nosy, but how much money are we talking? Thousands, tens or Hundreds of thousands? I know MIT Press can print a single book and sell it for less than $50 once the layout is done, but it's a paperback with no cover art, and that's a small textbook size.

What size press run do you plan on?

Re: Doble book by Jim Crank
March 14, 2010 11:21AM

First of all, SACA and the Stanley Museum were not asked to fund the book. I value your opinion highly, so I asked you what you thought of how to salvage it.

OK, right now for the editor and I to finished it with CDs ready for press, is $26,000.00. That is EVERYTHING, front matter, backmatter, the two volumes and the appendix, all with the 350 + high resolution photos. We used low res for placement only.

The publisher, Malcolm Harris at Parkside Publications in Seattle, his printer quoted $86.00 per set at 1000 sets, $67.00 for 1500 sets and $60.00 for 2,000 sets. We figured that 1500 would be enough, maybe going to 2,000, TBD later. Two boxed volumes and the appendix, boxed and ready to mail. The selling price would be similar and equal to similar top end books, around $260.00 each. Figure in about a 10-15% increase in cost since December of last year when his printer quoted.
He stores them and mails them.

The book will be copyrighted in my name as author, Harris has publishing rights, and we jointly create a web site and he does the advertising and all that. Mal is an attorney with some great books of his own out there, Simon Moor's Alfa Romao 2.3, three volumes and his Alfa Romeo 2.9 book. I have both and they are superb in all respects.
Parkside is first class and they have a web site, so you can look them up and see what they do.
There will be no paperback or cheesy edition.


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/14/2010 11:23AM by Jim Crank.
Re: Doble book by Jim Crank
March 15, 2010 02:06AM


check out the cost calculator.
The costs adds up with color.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/15/2010 02:32AM by Brent Laird.
Re: Doble book by Jim Crank
March 15, 2010 04:07AM
I suppose I should weigh in here briefly with my own peculiar book-freak perspective. As Tom Kimmel could testify if asked, my house is a disaster area of books waiting to tumble down upon me. I thought I was a bibliophile record contender until I saw Kimmel's and Jeff Theobald's "walls of books". I have a[n undisclosed/unadmitted] number of top-quality premium books like Jim is talking about, and simply stated they are treasures. Many I acquired back in the old days when such a book ate several months of my "fun money" budget, and it was still indescribably well worth it. Combine an expert author, a fascinating, little-documented subject, and high-grade printing/binding quality, and wow.

Anyway, count me in as a buyer when your Doble book set becomes available, Jim. Notice I said "when", not "if". Perseverance furthers. I think that a run of 1500 will be a superb and very rewarding investment to any and all financial backers.


Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 03/15/2010 01:50PM by Peter Brow.
Re: Doble book by Jim Crank
March 17, 2010 08:59AM

The proposed book would be appreciated by a small number of steam enthusiasts but I don't know how many non-steam people collect such books. There are only about 500 paid up members of steam car clubs world wide and only a few have expressed an interest in buying it without a price being mentioned.

You still have some work to do on it and selling costs need to be known to potential buyers who then need to be invited to make advance orders. Such projects are meant to be just a Labor-of-Love. If costs have risen above an affordable amount, in typical Doble fashion, then the costs of the initial production run should perhaps be covered by all those wanting a First Edition copy. If this produces additional demand, you can print whatever is needed. As noted by others there are printing options that would keep unit costs affordable for enthusiasts without any investor(s) facing a big loss by having hundreds of unsold volumes in storage. How many people are willing to lose most of their investment? It is small change for someone who is still very wealthy and a token amount if shared by a few hundred people.

It i$ now time to te$t the real enthu$ia$m of your $upporter$.

Re: Doble book by Jim Crank
March 17, 2010 06:44PM
Graema is correct about the left over books from the initial sale. 500 sets would be more than enough for the first printing. An example of that would the what the Stanley Museum was stuck with in its book "The Stanley Steamer" by Kit Foster. They placed such a big order that they are lucky if 25% of the run sold. The down side of that is that the initial costs of printing have not yet been recovered and worse yet, warehousing the unsold inventory is killing them for space. This was reported to me by one of their directors. eye popping smiley
Re: Doble book by Jim Crank
March 18, 2010 11:12AM

The market for the Doble book is not just the steam car enthusiast; but also the collectors of books on classic and vintage sports cars and on their engineering too.
Bugatti, Hispano-Suiza, Rolls-Royce, Alfa Romeo, Voisin, Duesenberg, Packard, Porsche, Mercedes-Benz, Corvette, Ferrari, Lotus and on and on and on.
If we had to depend on just the steam car people for sales, we may as well never even print the book.
I don't think you appreciate just what is out there in the way of vintage car history books, the new ones, let alone the rare out of print ones.

These collectors and I know many, have libraries from 500 to well over 1,500 volumes and they buy EVERYTHING. The antique books on cars are eagerly sought after, often priced and sold at well over $1500.00 each, when you can even find them. I have several very limited editions that are now bring $2200.00 + on the collector market.

If the Stanley book was nationally advertised, I would hazard a guess that they would sell out. When you only let the steam car people in on it, the sales are miserable.
Go to Google, then to Amazon books. No Stanley Book by Kit is listed. Why is that, ignorance of how to really advertise or being cheap? Even dealing with Amazon or Classic Motor Books, they could sell out and make a profit, or was the original idea to reap all the profit and not wholesale the book?

Take a look at Amazon and also at Classic Motor Books on Google for just the new ones. Then W. T, Warth and the collector car book dealers. See what market is out there first. It's huge.

Re: Doble book by Jim Crank
March 18, 2010 11:55PM
Jim, That was only a suggestion I had for the first printing. From the first run's sales demand, a person would then know what the market was and they could have comfortably proceeded from there with corrected numbers for their second printing. I fully agree about "The Stanley Steamer" by Kit Foster. For the best sales it could have had, it was not marketed correctly. Marketing makes a big difference on how well any book will sell. And yes, nowadays with the on-line marketing (i.e. Amazon), it is a whole new world with explosive sales. SSsssteamer
Re: Doble book by Jim Crank
March 19, 2010 09:51AM

The first order of business on the Doble book is for my editor and I to finish the text for the last chapters, do what corrections are needed, substitute the high res photos for the placement ones, do the Appendix, the back and front matter and in general get the CDs ready in all respects for the press run. Nothing more to do except to print and bind the books and lastly the mailing.
That requires the $26K and there right now is where we are sitting dead in the water. The cost of printing the book is a separate issue, it has to exist in perfect shape first.

The publisher will not go for some tiny or cheap production run at first and neither will we. It is the full blown production or nothing. He says such things are a waste of money and time and being a real pro at this game, I take his word on it. His Alfa Romeo books by Simon Moore are more than successful and profitable and we leave such decisions up to him.

Re: Doble book by Jim Crank
March 19, 2010 10:55PM

It sounds like you have a decent quantity of probable customers, but need to get over the funding hump. Since it's always easier to get money when you already have it, try this idea. Go to all the probable markets, like us and those collectors, and announce you are taking deposits for the first edition press run. Put an initial price around $110 on it, so you can cover the smallest press run. If you get a good response you can always cut the price later. Not too many folks get upset if you undercharge them. Or (gasp) you might even make a profit!

Personally I would pony up $25/30 without worrying about it. If you can get half of the groups you mentioned to do that, you should have enough to go to a funder, show the cash and the product, and the fact it is presold (otherwise why did all these people put in the deposits?) and I bet you could raise the remaining funds.

If you don't want to take money up front, just put out announcements of the book, and get preorders. You might find a funder in the respondents. If nothing else, you would get a more realistic idea how big a press run you need. Once you get a serious number of orders you could ask for deposits for the first edition. Offer to autograph them or something.

One sales tool you might consider is finishing one chapter, one of the most interesting ones, and posting it with the ad as a download. With 600 pages or so I'm sure you can pull one out without spoiling the ending for us. This is often done by big publishers. Baen Books does it all the time.

One other thought: technical libraries should be interested in this book, but I don't know if they expect to get them for free. Most engineering schools should want a copy, and history departments as well.

Worst comes to worst, If you don't get a worthwhile response you send a blanket reply that the publication is cancelled due to lack of interest.

Re: Doble book by Jim Crank
March 20, 2010 04:15PM

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/09/2010 11:40AM by Bill Gatlin.
Re: Doble book by Jim Crank
March 20, 2010 04:36PM

Thanks very much that is most kind of you; but let's wait for another two weeks. The sponsor has much on his plate and i know that is just more important than the book right now. This I can understand when one is finishing a 15,000 sq/ft palace on Maui for some $25M. It is just a matter of priorities. BUT; if this is not resolved, then that's it.
Incidentally, his great grandfather was Albert Fornier, the founder, funder and CEO of General Engineering who built the Doble-Detroit. Talk about a family connection.

Re: Doble book by Jim Crank
March 20, 2010 07:23PM

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/09/2010 11:41AM by Bill Gatlin.
Re: Doble book by Jim Crank
May 06, 2010 06:48AM
Hello Mr. Clark,
By coincidence I stumbled upon this most interesting blog. I recemtly bought the Doble book (by J.N.Walton) from the Staem Car association, who still seem to have some copies left. No doubt your book will be more comprehensive and I very much look forward to being able to acquire a copy. I do agree with other bloggers that the publisher of the Stanley book should not complain as indeed it is not offered for sale anywher but at special shows where the author usually has some copies.I would think 1000 copies would be a good number for your book. The 2.3 Alfa book was printed in too big a number and is now being sold at discounts everywhere. I am very interested in the Serpollet litterature that allegedly Griffith Borgeson could acquire or did acquire. I have a lot of Serpollet litterature that came with L 1013, the 1904-5 Serpollet that I acquired last year. This is the ex Milligen car, which is well documented. Mr. Serpollet in the 1905-6 version moved to double acting cylinders and you can find a statement from him in the various pieces of litterature defending the double acting system at the end of his life. It will be great to keep in touch.
Re: Doble book by Jim Crank
May 07, 2010 03:57PM
This post is in response to the mention of John Walton's Doble book. I know where there are several boxes of that book purchased from Walton a few years ago on the theory that it would be an easy way to get rich. As for the statement that the new book will be more comprehensive, that is very true. I have information that there are a great many photos showing the factory and all. Walton collected what he could and did a good job for being on the Isle of Man. Tom Kimmel
Re: Doble book by Jim Crank
May 07, 2010 10:58PM

Walton's Doble book was well worth the cost when it came out. Now, it is overpriced as people stick more and more profit on what they bought wholesale many years ago.
Like the local Diesel-gas station down the street who gouge now $3.19 per gallon on the same fuel in the tank they paid a whole lot less for a month ago. Then it was $2.45 per gallon. At the time Walton did the Doble book, he did the best he could.

Since I have all of the factory photo archive and the photos from the Bancroft that they later took off their web site, I think now the photo collection is about 500+ prints.
Yes, I have about 22 pictures inside the San Francisco and Emeryville factories that have never been seen. Also, a lot of others taken in the plant and test lab that have never been seen either.
Then there are documents and letters that are priceless to me. Such as the sales agreement between the Dobles and Howard Hughes for his second Doble, E-22. Things like that.
Just be patient, Steve is one busy man what with his palace building on Maui, running his bank, getting his Duesenberg restored, finished now, then we are starting on his Doble E-19 and now mix in the restoration of his 1914 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Alpine Eagle London Edinburgh tourer. He will come through, considering his family connection to the Doble steam car.


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/08/2010 08:34AM by Jim Crank.
Re: Doble book by Jim Crank
May 11, 2010 10:38AM
Very pleased to see that you have renewed confidence that the book will proceed. Anxiously waiting.
Re: Doble book by Jim Crank
December 19, 2019 09:45PM
The book has been published. Those who pre-ordered have received their sets. The Amazon listing is the easiest way to get the book and is where I got mine. Just look for "The Doble Steam Car" by Jim Crank. Published by Doble Steam Press. Also available from Tetracon and a few other dealers on the bookfinder.com page.

It is quite a delightful compilation with much more than a list of Doble models and types, being almost a history of the steam cars of the entire era. Many anecdotes and photos not published before. Read my review on the Amazon listing.

Karl Petersen
Re: Doble book by Jim Crank
December 30, 2019 08:06AM
Is there any recommendation on 'where to purchase' that benefits either this club or Jim Anderson/Jim Crank's estate to the greatest extent? I don't see a direct link to Mr. Anderson as a source, and there's no mention of him as a source at Amazon. Would it make sense to e-mail him at the number given in the 'other' book thread (evergreenfiresystems <at> gmail.com)?

I only see two dealers listed in the Amazon listing for the book that comes up 'first' in Google's listings on December 30th.

I want to do the most good to reward all the time and effort that has gone into producing this book, not give a premium to a bookseller capitalizing on a perceived limited run.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 12/30/2019 10:39AM by Overmod.
Re: Doble book by Jim Crank
December 30, 2019 11:57AM
The Book set is available in the SACA Storeroom

Scroll to the bottom of the page.
Re: Doble book by Jim Crank
May 30, 2020 08:14AM
I bought the book through the club. In fact, I joined the club so I could get the rather significant discount. I'm on page 185 of Volume I. Book is exceptional in all regards. The book is organized chronologically (I'm up to about 1922) and Jim gives a full accounting of all Steam cars, not just Doble.

I'm prewar car guy, but this book makes me want to be a steam car guy. Just so well done.

Re: Doble book by Jim Crank
May 30, 2020 07:10PM
Seems I posted on this two weeks ago. it was over 10 years. I miss Jim.
Re: Doble book by Jim Crank
June 28, 2020 02:44PM
It is perhaps obvious to note that the book is available in the Storeroom at a HUGE reduction to members, and is on Amazon for the great unwashed.

Karl Petersen
Re: Doble book by Jim Crank
July 15, 2020 08:53PM
I finally finished the entire two volume set. Loved everything about it. Content, pictures, format, etc. Completely interesting and informative at the same time. On par with Jan Melin's volumes on 540k Mercedes (which is high praise in the car book world).
Re: Doble book by Jim Crank
December 23, 2020 02:03PM
The Society of Automotive Historians gives annual awards for books. I just received the latest magazine which lists the fresh awards. The top award is called the Nicolas J Cugnot Award - English Language, and it is sometimes not given if there is no suitable book. This year, " the Committee had an extraordinarily strong field of nominees" and a special one was given to The Doble Steam Car by Jim Crank. Here is the listing in the society's latest bulletin:

NJCA-EL: Award of Distinction: The Doble Steam Car by Jim Crank, published by the Doble Steam Press.ISBN: 978-0578464633

Separate from the 2020 Cugnot Award (English Language) given to Ballot, the Committee gave an Award of Distinction to The Doble Steam Car by Jim Crank, published by the Doble Steam Press, under the direction of Jim Anderson.

The Committee viewed this elegant and well-documented two-volume work as a significant contribution to automotive history. The book is not simply a motorcar history; rather this is a sweeping presentation of an entire era and its unique individuals. Mr. Crank lived much of his life around the people involved with the Doble steam car as well as with the owners of these vehicles. Although the text is a bit repetitive at points, readers are fortunate to have a great storyteller in Mr. Crank, who insisted on bringing the Doble story to life and into the present. Crank also found an astonishing amount of rare materials and photographs that significantly enhance the book.
—Edward Garten

We owe much to all those who contributed material to Jim, to those who labored long to get Jim closer to completion of the project, and to those who have actually moved the book set out into the world.

Karl Petersen
Re: Doble book by Jim Crank
December 24, 2020 06:22AM
Very nice news...thank you for sharing!

I know that I'll be pulling my copy out and re-reading it over the holidays. I already read it cover-to-cover once.

If someone doesn't have a copy, I would suggest joining SACA for the discount and ordering theirs. I highly recommend the book, for what ever my opinion is worth.

Happy Holidays to all!
Re: Doble book by Jim Crank
May 07, 2021 09:16PM
The latest Society of Automotive Historians Journal No. 308 has Kit Foster's extensive review of "Doble Steam Cars by Jim Crank." It is perceptive, accurate and ends with the suggestion to join the SACA for a substantial discount on the book.
Kit states that it is unacceptable to omit footnotes, a bibliography and especially an index. Grudging credit is given for printing the whole two-volume table of contents in both volumes. Otherwise there is well deserved appreciation for personal anecdotes and the huge scale of the book.

Karl Petersen
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two cyl compound.jpg 274.1 KB open | download Rolly 10/29/2009 Read message
Serpollet5hp.jpeg 35.2 KB open | download Brian McMorran 11/22/2009 Read message
Serpollet-engine.jpg 133.5 KB open | download Brian McMorran 11/22/2009 Read message
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