It's tough to run an independent business these days. Just ask former newspaperman Ed Eakin, president of Eakin Press, which has been publishing books about Texas legend and lore since 1978. "The best thing you can do is survive," Ed says, "but the rewards–working with authors, educating readers–are worth it."
At the Eakin Press headquarters outside of Austin, Ed and his 10 employees edit and produce more than 100 new titles a year, covering such specialized topics as the history of stone-milling to a biography of African-American World War II hero Doris Miller. The 550 or so books in print aren't glossy, highly stylized coffee-table tomes, but that was never Ed's goal. "I've had a lifelong love affair with the printed word," says Ed, "and I print titles that I consider worthy. It's that simple."
Historians with an interest in eclectic Texas subjects will find the Eakin catalog a gold mine of resources. Want to read more about the Alamo and the Texas Revolution? African-American, Czech, and German heritage? Biographies of the state's many interesting and influential characters? The Civil War and the Confederacy? Regional cooking? Folklore? Sports, rodeo, and religion? Look no further.
County, community, and church histories have a place at Eakin, too. Ed's new "on-demand" press system allows very limited runs (as few as 50 copies) of titles with narrow audiences.
If you'd like to tour the press and learn about the book-publishing business, Ed welcomes visitors, and offers this incentive: "You'll get a 20 percent discount on books just for walking through the door," he says.
Eakin Press, the largest independent book publisher in the Southwest, is in Oak Hill, west of Austin. Call 512/288-1771 or 800/880-8642 to arrange a visit or tour, or to request a catalog. You'll also find the catalog on the Web at www.eakinpress.com.