An old friend arrived in the mail yesterday. It was a book I haven’t seen in twenty-five years. I got it from an online used book dealer. If it is possible to have a love affair with a book, this was a long standing romance of mine.
Called The California Information Almanac, its 654 pages contained every kind of fact and figure on the Golden State. Just some of the chapters were History, Government, Education, Population, Flora and Fauna, Agriculture, Minerals, and Fisheries. Along with Oceanography, Manufacturing, Recreation and Tourism, and, well, you get the idea.
I’ve approached two publishers with the idea of writing a Nevada almanac. Neither were interested. One said this, “Unfortunately, the internet really devastated reference books like that; they cost a tremendous amount to produce and much of the information is freely available online, so they’re just not feasible for a press like us.”
Freely available on-line. Very true. And completely unorganized. A state almanac is somewhat like the internet in book form. One moment you are reading about the Governor’s Flag, the next you are reading about walnut production. But you don’t need to look at a screen or be hooked up to the net. A whole state, in bite size bits, chapter by chapter, awaits exploring.
As far as I can determine, the last Nevada almanac was published in 2003. I’ve sent for a copy. Although I have been opposed to self-publishing, since it would take away from my paid writing work, I am thoroughly tempted to begin a years long project that would make the Silver State enjoyable on paper pages. Who knows, maybe I could produce at the same time an interactive e-book for people hopelessly wedded to the net. Hmm. I have much to think about.