Airstream Forums

Airstream Forums (
-   Commercial Listings (
-   -   Wally's books are back! (

rluhr 04-08-2010 08:46 PM

Wally's books are back!
:wally:Wondering what Wally really said and did back in the golden days of Airstream?

:wally:Frustrated because copies of his books have been out of print for decades, and cost upwards of $100 in used condition (if you can find them at all)?

I'm very excited to announce that both of Wally Byam's original books: Fifth Avenue On Wheels, and Trailer Travel Here & Abroad are now back in print!

We've reprinted both books in a single volume, with a new Foreword by Dale "Peewee" Schwamborn, and are offering them for $19 in the Airstream Life store. We'll start shipping copies next week. Read more about these books by clicking the link above.

I hope you enjoy these books! They represent "Wally's own words," about all sorts of topics: caravanning, choosing a trailer or floorplan, packing, camp sites, food, gear, towing, international travel, and much more. They're really gems and a lot of fun to read. You won't believe what the caravans went through in the 1950s!

By the way, it took literally years to complete the project of reprinting them for the Airstream community. Every page was scanned, digitized, cleaned up, reformatted, and carefully reviewed half a dozen times. Thanks to Forrest McClure for his invaluable effort, as well as Peewee for his introduction and approval, and the many people who helped us research the copyright.

Condoluminum 04-08-2010 08:51 PM

That is AWESOME!

Thanks to you and Pee Wee and others for this project.. I have one of those vintage copies of Trailer Travel (INCREDIBLE stories from Capetown to Cairo Rally...) that I bought at premium price on E-Bay, and look forward to getting another copy that I can lend to friends without having an Anxiety Attack...

Good luck, and I hope you sell lots and lots.. I've read it over and over, and continue shaking my head in amazement.. Crossing rivers by elephant powered canoe-based rafts is a special vision all by itself...

fotochop 04-08-2010 08:58 PM

... thanks, Rich, for keepin' the drive alive.. ;-) just ordered mine..

myboyburt 04-08-2010 09:15 PM

Order placed!
Thank you Rich and Airstream Life! I have ordered my copy. :cool:

rgesch 04-08-2010 09:39 PM


ROBERTSUNRUS 04-08-2010 09:48 PM

:) Hi, this book sounds very interesting; When will the hard cover copies be available?

Silverfoxrae 04-08-2010 09:50 PM


rluhr 04-08-2010 09:54 PM


Originally Posted by ROBERTSUNRUS (Post 835537)
:) Hi, this book sounds very interesting; When will the hard cover copies be available?

There are no plans to offer a hardcover right now. If we did, it would have to be priced >$50 per copy, because of the very small volume we are printing. Our goal was to offer these books at the most affordable price possible. Incidentally, that's also why both books were combined in a single volume.

InsideOut 04-08-2010 10:30 PM

Even though I have original copies of both (they're wonderful!) I've already ordered up my reprinted version...thanks to Rich, Peewee & Forrest for making these wonderful remembrances available to all! :clap:

Shari :flowers:

Frank's Trailer Works 04-09-2010 05:09 AM

Thank you for doing this Rich. Any plans for some of the other books?

kamadeca 04-09-2010 06:38 AM


This is great! For us younguns, it is awesome to be able to get our hands on these iconic books. Just a quick question. Any thoughts of offering them digitally? (i.e. Kindle, PDF, iPad)

Thanks for all your great work

rluhr 04-09-2010 07:55 AM


Originally Posted by kamadeca (Post 835603)
Any thoughts of offering them digitally? (i.e. Kindle, PDF, iPad)

I think it's unlikely. Staying in print is the only practical method we have to limit re-distribution. The problem is that the original books are "public domain" now -- which means we can't copyright them. If we offered a digital version, people could legally re-distribute them and we would have no way to recoup the thousands of dollars invested in this project. That would be quite a stab in the back after working on this project for four years.

Kindle offers some copy protection, but I haven't looked closely into Kindle's requirements yet. I don't know if they would let us sell and copy-protect a public domain work in Kindle format.


Originally Posted by 62overlander (Post 835584)
Any plans for some of the other books?

No plans at this time, but that could change. What other book titles would you like to see?

One of the big barriers to a project like this is researching the copyright. It's not enough to just look at a copyright date and assume it is expired. You have to take serious efforts to verify that the copyright was not renewed or still in effect. This can include paying hundreds of dollars to the Library of Congress researchers to go through old paper records. In the case of these books, researching the copyrights took months.

I believe, for example, that the copyright to Lille Douglass' book "Cape Town To Cairo" is still in effect, although the book has been out of print since 1964. It is easy to show that a book is still in copyright, but to prove it is not is quite another matter. If it were still in copyright, it could be a major effort to find the current living copyright holder and secure reprint rights. Sometimes books are still legally copyrighted but the owner is dead, which results in "orphan copyright." Then things get really tricky ... it's not as simple as it can first appear!

The other barrier is the time it takes to properly digitize and lay out any book. Forrest worked on these two books for years, and I probably put another 100 hours into proofing and layout. It's really a labor of love -- I don't expect to make a real profit on this project.

For example, I have a copy of "Trailer Ahoy" by Charles Edgar Nash (1937), which could be reprinted. It is not Airstream specific, however, and probably would be mostly of interest to vintage trailer buffs. I doubt we could recoup costs on that project, due to the limited audience. Too bad, because it's interesting.

So while there are other interesting books to digitize and reprint, we have to think carefully before proceeding, and we have to be pretty sure that we can sell enough copies to avoid losing our shirts! Right now I just want to distribute Wally's books far and wide, and think about doing others in a year or two.

safari62 04-09-2010 10:10 AM

I think this is good that these books will now be available in print again and may even buy a COPY. I do not own the fifth Avenue on Wheels original and would like to read it.

I have question about "Public Domain" pertaining to the vintage photos included in these books. Does this mean I can scan from these books photos to add to my collection of vintage travel trailers? I have been scolded here before for posting photos.

I am worried that someone now will renew these copy rights for their own profit motives and this small part of travel trailer history will be unavailable unless purchased.


Forrest 04-09-2010 10:19 AM

I can’t adequately express my gratitude to Rich and his staff for bringing this project to fruition. Even though these are Wally’s original authorship, not mine, I have the same feeling of joy and pride in having played a part in bringing them back to the public at an affordable price.
Wally really was the one person most responsible for the golden age of Airstream caravanning. We might not see anything similar in scope and scale ever again – kind of like going to the Moon – we’ve yet to return. It isn’t that the present day and age doesn’t have the technology, but it seems instead that we lack the determination to make it happen.
These books allow the reader a peek into how it was done and what it was like. Enjoy!

rluhr 04-09-2010 10:23 AM

No need to worry, Gary. Once copyright expires and a book goes into the public domain, it cannot be re-copyrighted. Wally's writings are free. We're only charging for the printing, and labor to reformat the books.

It's also legal for you to scan public domain photos. I can't offer an opinion on whether a particular photo is out of copyright, however.

I would ask that everyone refrain from posting scanned copies of the books online. Having copies freely made available online, after all the work we've done to get it back into print, would certainly eliminate any chance of us ever doing this again. Let's let this good deed go unpunished.;)

azflycaster 04-09-2010 11:12 AM

Rich - Thanks for getting these printed and available. It will make a nice addition to my collection. I'll keep it in the trailer for a while and get Dale to autograph it next rally that I run into him at. That will make it even more special!

Gene 04-09-2010 11:36 AM

I just ordered it. Great that you're doing this.


JFScheck 04-09-2010 12:10 PM

Just ordered "Two" Copies....

Thanks! :)

dufferin 04-09-2010 03:19 PM


bolerama 04-09-2010 09:14 PM

I'm so excited to get my copy! Thanks for making these available.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 02:23 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.