If you’re a gun guy you’ve probably spent a few hours thumbing through gun books, if you’re a collector or old gun lover then you probably have a shelf full! In an exclusive interview, TFB spoke to Ian McCollum of Forgotten Weapons, Nic Jenzen-Jones of ARES & photographer James Rupley, best known for capturing the great photos for the Vickers guide series of books, who are excited to announce the launch of their new publishing company which will focus on small arms and military history. Headstamp Publishing is a new venture with some very interesting titles already lined up.
The first book from Headstamp will be Ian McCollum’s book on French rifles, Chassepot to FAMAS: French Military Rifles, 1866-2016, Ian told us that his mission “has always been the preservation and dissemination of knowledge, and I am excited to be a part of a team dedicated to doing that in the publishing world.”
Check out Ian’s video discussing Headstamp:
In addition to Ian’s book, Headstamp also have a book on British bullpup firearms from Jonathan Ferguson, the Keeper of Firearms & Artillery at the UK’s Royal Armouries Museum, and a book on the Kabul Arsenal from Nic Jenzen-Jones and Vernon Easley, the latter a well-known authority on Martini rifles. Headstamp are aiming to have these first three books out in 2019, with three more following in 2020.
TFB had the chance to speak to the guys behind the new publishing house about what made them want to get into the publishing business.
TFB: With the popularity of e-Books and with many of us relying heavily on the internet for our information, is there still a place for printed gun books?
James Rupley: “The internet has dramatically changed the publishing industry but, ironically, the success of the e-book and other digital publications paved the way for the resurgence of the printed book. Now, more than ever, people appreciate the physical form of a tangible book. The aesthetic of a sophisticated hardcover design, the feel of quality paper as you flip the pages, and the weight of the written word when bound – none of these characteristics can be replicated by the electronic screen.”
Ian McCollum: “The internet had opened tremendous opportunities for communication between collectors and historians worldwide, but there is still nothing as good as a properly produced book for collecting and preserving information. Books allow authors to consolidate and formalize knowledge in a way that open and uncurated online discussions cannot.”
TFB: As a publisher what sets Headstamp apart from the other gun book publishers out there?
Nic Jenzen-Jones: “We are a group of authors, photographers, and editors who are passionate about arms and military history. We’re in this for the long-haul. James and I have been involved in producing publications of different types for years. We are definitely pushing the boundaries of what a publisher would typically offer authors, especially in this field. We work closely with authors to guide and assist their research, provide the highest-quality photos and diagrams, and help them gain access to critically important material.”
Ian: “When I started working on my book on French military rifles, my goal was to be published by Collector Grade – the gold standard for reference books. With Blake Stevens’ unfortunate passing, someone else has to pick up the work of gathering and preserving history – and go beyond that to make books that are not just factually rigorous and detailed, but also works of art. Headstamp represents the ideal team to do that.”
Nic: “The three of us work brilliantly together, and we all bring something different to the table. It really is the dream team for this kind of work.”
TFB: James, you’re Headstamp’s creative director, what goes into putting a Headstamp-published book together?
James Rupley: “In its simplest form, I have one single goal for my photographs: when printed, I want the reader to feel as though he or she could simply reach down and lift the item off the page. We then support the text and photography with a clear, thoughtful layout, making our books more useful as reference tools, and more pleasing to the eye.
Nic: “It’s important to me that the books we produce are interesting and useful to professional firearms researchers, curators, collectors, and enthusiasts alike. Our team are supported by a range of established subject matter experts, fact-checkers, editors, copy editors, proof-readers, and graphic designers. We’ll provide support and help that authors won’t find elsewhere.”
James: “We also carefully and individually prepare each image for physical printing. I have learned the hard way that the optimal image for display on a digital screen can look terrible in printed form. Important details are either lost in shadows or destroyed by white highlights. Yet if you look at current publications, you will see that this mistake is often made by publishers and printers.”
TFB: Where can people find more information about your forthcoming books?
Nic: “All of our books will be available via our website (www.HeadstampPublishing.com),
where you can also sign-up to an email list to stay informed of release dates, limited special
editions, and behind-the-scenes content. You can also find us on Instagram, Facebook, and
Twitter, where we will share images and other sneak previews of forthcoming books.
Our thanks to the guys at Headstamp for taking the time to tell us about their new project, you can find out more about Headstamp Publishing, their upcoming books and about the authors and team behind the project over at Headstamp’s website: www.