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Insights from Hawthorne Publishing

What is the lifetime of a modern book? The lives of our Hawthorne books, like those of a cat, can have a couple of incarnations.

Maybe not nine lives, but perennial best-sellers can be reissued in several ways. They can be reprinted, as is, which has happened to many of our books which have historical interest and stand good as is through the years.

Or entirely new editions can come out if the subject was topical and changed in substantial ways. This was the case with Emerson Houck’s book Hoosiers All: Indiana High School Basketball Teams. For the first edition of his book, Emerson Houck had scoured Indiana’s small towns, personally driving with his wife on off-roads to places like Hannah, or Selma, Indiana to see what their libraries had preserved in the way of records of the local basketball teams’ performances. Often he would visit the old gym and go to a coffee shop to talk to a star of the past, now nursing a cheese sandwich at a counter and about thirty pounds heavier than he had been when his team had starred on the court in the county and beyond.

The records were extensive from hundreds of towns. Then there were the official records at the Indiana High School Athletic Association. Emerson whittled all the data down to basic records and outstanding moments, describing high times with a couple of players and coaches for each team, and put them into his book, along with rare photos the home-town heroes were willing to part with.

The result was a book that was a perennial feature at the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame, endorsed by their well-known former director and officials around the state. Barnes and Noble reordered this book many times.

But it was the fans of Hoosierdom who made this five-hundred-page book such a success. Looking into its pages, finding the teams by mascot groupings, the local stars and cheerleaders and also ground-breakers from the new girls’ teams could experience the olden, golden days. And those in their area who loved the venerated, one-class system of high school basketball, could remind themselves of why they had loved it.

But the local folks also spotted tiny flaws in the records. “That was not Coach Severin who won the Sectionals for the Cardinals in ’52, it was Coach Smith, who had just come on.” Or—“My record of field goals was 36 in 1942, not what you said.”

Apologies followed. It was really impressive that so much was right, almost everything, having relied on facts from the local sources and the IHSAA records. Emerson was a whiz, very orderly and systematic and a small-town basketball nut. But sometimes new sources also called, adding interesting new team activities; and stories surfaced that ought to be reported in this somewhat complete history of Indiana high school basketball.

So a new edition was called for. Besides, the original print run had been exhausted for this popular book. Thus Emerson began the painstaking job of correcting five hundred pages and the designer at Hawthorne, Art Baxter, made space, re-paged, and added an appendix at the back.

Changes, updating, then, is one major reason a topical book can be printed in subsequent editions.

Click back to the website to get Hoosiers All, Second Edition.

Nancy Niblack Baxter, Senior Editor Hawthorne Publishing