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Aeronaut Books publishes quality aviation history books for enthusiasts by enthusiasts. It is owned by Jack Herris, founder and former owner of Flying Machines Press (which was sold to another publisher in September 2000).

Jack Herris has a long history with aviation. His parents started dating while car-pooling together to North American Aviation during WW2. Jack’s father built P-51s, including parts for the first P-51 Mustang ever built, and his mother built B-25s.

In 1971 Jack graduated Magna Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Washington with a Bachelor of Science in Aeronautics and Astronautics. He then served as a Naval Aviator, flying P-3B Orion aircraft with VP-46. After leaving the navy he worked in the Laser Fusion Program at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, then worked in the high tech industry in Silicon Valley. He holds CFI, CFI-I, CFI-ME, ATP, and Learjet type ratings.

Jack is a long-time member of the League of WWI Aviation Historians, and before that the Cross & Cockade Society. He has written more than a dozen articles on WWI aircraft published in their quarterly journal, Over the Front and has edited several issues of that journal. He has also written more than 30 magazine articles. He brings insight into these aircraft both from his aeronautical engineering and military flying experience.

In 1992 he founded Flying Machines Press to publish aviation history books and after publishing a number of titles, sold Flying Machines Press in 2000. He became a repeat offender by starting Aeronaut Books, which published its first two new aviation books in November 2010. 

Jack has written the following books on WWI aircraft:

SPAD Two-Seat Fighters of World War I
Aircraft of WWI: 1914–1918

Development of German Warplanes in WWI
German Seaplane Fighters of WWI

Nachtflugzeug!  German N-Types of WWI
German Armored Warplanes of WWI
Pfalz Aircraft of WWI
Gotha Aircraft of WWI
Germany’s Triplane Craze

Germany’s Fighter Competitions of 1918
Roland Aircraft of WWI
Aviatik Aircraft of WWI
Rumpler Aircraft of WWI
Siemens-Schuckert Aircraft of WWI
German Monoplane Fighters of WWI

German G-Type Bombers of WWI
German Seaplanes of WWI
Genesis of Fighter Aviation in WWI
Friedrichshafen Aircraft of WWI

POD (Print on Demand) Versus Conventional Printing

We do our best to bring our books to you with the best content and presentation quality we can. After all, we read them too, and we have them in our own libraries.
POD (Print on Demand) is a recent technology that makes it financially viable to publish books for small markets that would not otherwise be practical. This has enabled Aeronaut Books to bring a number of books to market that could not have been published if printed conventionally.
Aeronaut Books has chosen to use CreateSpace, a company owned by Amazon, as our POD vendor. This has the advantage that books published by Aeronaut Books are automatically listed on Amazon in the US, UK, and Europe, making the books available to the largest number of readers.
Although some specialized POD vendors offer coated paper and hard-binding, Amazon focuses on the general market and currently does not offer coated paper or hard binding. The prices of hard-bound POD books are much too high for the commercial market and are oriented to very short runs of specialty books, such as family photo albums, where cost is secondary. Soft covers work well for smaller books but larger books need hard covers for strength and durability. The maximum size of POD books from Amazon is currently 400 pages.
All of our hard-bound titles are conventionally printed on matt coated paper. In addition, the first three soft-bound books from Aeronaut Books, the book on Jean Navarre and the first two volumes of The Blue Max Airmen series, were also printed conventionally on matt coated paper, but the economics of a small market such as WWI aviation compelled us to go with POD for new soft-bound titles.

Coated Versus Uncoated Paper

The major drawback of uncoated paper is that during printing the small ink droplets are absorbed into the paper and expand slightly, somewhat reducing the crispness of the photos. With coated paper the ink droplets are not absorbed but dry on the surface, resulting in crisper photo reproduction from the same image file. The drying step takes 10–15 seconds and must be built into the printing process, which increases costs slightly, and coated paper is also more expensive than uncoated paper. But the better paper quality and crisper photo reproduction on coated paper are worth it for photo-intensive books of the kind that Aeronaut publishes.
Every time I communicate with the POD printer I mention the need for coated paper, and no doubt I am not the only publisher to do so. The only significant customer complaints about our POD books have been directed at the modest paper quality.
We use the same design templates and pre-press preparation for all books from Aeronaut Books regardless of how the book will be printed. However, I would prefer to print all books on matt coated paper for best paper quality and photographic reproduction. We use matt coated paper because it is easier to read than glossy coated paper — there is no glare off the paper from a reading light.

Benefits of POD

POD has made it financially viable to print books for small markets that would otherwise not be practical. In many cases the realistic choice is not between POD or conventional printing but between POD or no book at all.
POD books do not go out of print and are available indefinitely. Moreover, they can be updated as new information becomes available or errors are corrected.
Another benefit of POD is that the entire interior of the book is either color or B&W. Since we always have color profiles, this allows us to use color throughout the book, so POD books are more colorful and engaging than conventionally-printed books, which have all the color in one section to minimize printing cost.
Finally, POD print quality will only get better as technology advances. And I am confident that sooner or later Amazon will offer coated paper. Now if they could only reduce mailing costs, the other major problem for book publishers!

Digital Photo Editing (Photoshop)

We strive to produce the best books we can and go to great effort to clean up the photos with Photoshop to give these century-old photos the best reproduction possible. In fact, the author of our recent book on Jasta 30 was surprised to see details in the photos in the book that he had missed in the originals! After we restored the photos, more was visible than he had seen before. One of the people who contributed photos for the book had the same experience and was also very surprised.

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