Preserving history using picture-postcards? Redondo Beach wrote the book on it.
In an effort to preserve city history and make a little money, the Redondo Beach Historical Commission wrote and is publishing a historical-postcard collection, with proceeds going to the museum.
On top of paying the museum's rent, the city gives the commission a small discretionary fund -- $700 -- but the commission wanted more for framing, collecting and exhibiting historical Redondo Beach letters, memorabilia and antiques.
So the commission turned to Arcadia Publishing and struck a deal: The city provided free writing and editing in exchange for free publishing, promotion and a slice of the profit.
"We've always begged and borrowed for this facility," Commissioner Mary Ann Keating said. "Having a few extra funds will help us out a lot."
The book, Redondo Beach, part of the Postcard History Series, will explore Redondo's history at the turn of the century, sell for $20 and cost the city nothing to produce.
In return, the city will make $10 off every copy it sells, and about $1 on those sold over the Internet or at a bookstore -- money that will go to improve the historical museum.
The book is only the second published look at Redondo's history -- the first is out of print.
It uses a plethora of postcards to trace the city's history through the early 20th century, when it was the hub of South Bay commercial and recreational activity.
The book deal mirrors a trend in the South Bay and in cities throughout the country, as small town historical societies partner with publishers to preserve local history -- and make money at the same time.
Arcadia Publishing is the nation's largest publisher of local history books, with over 3,000 titles covering small-town America -- more than 300 in California alone.
The publisher gives a substantial discount to the city -- such as half-price for 500 books or so plus a small cut of royalties -- and the company receives the lion's share of profits from the rest of the books sold, Keating said. Even if that isn't many, it still turns a profit, while managing to contribute to historical preservation and local civic funding.