We have some exciting news to announce!  The UNC-Chapel Hill Libraries and UNC Press are collaborating to bring you DocSouth Books, available in the Fall 2011 season.  By popular demand, many of the classic texts from UNC’s DocSouth digital collections will be made available in downloadable e-book and Print-On-Demand format.  So, if you’re keeping track, yes: this is material that was originally in print, then preserved and made digitally accessible by UNC Libraries, and will once again be available in print format.  Amazing, right?!  Read on to continue to be amazed…

The DocSouth collections have been used, loved, and praised by students, scholars, and general readers of all ages ever since they were first published online beginning in 1996.  The uses for these oral histories, documents, photos, letters, diaries, posters, songs, and rare or out-of-print texts has been unlimited: from entertainment and personal genealogical research to use in classrooms from grade schools to grad schools.  With such a broad audience, DocSouth received lots of feedback and learned that many users had a need for printing the digitized content—printing tips are even high on the DocSouth FAQ list.  Users even began to ask where they could buy copies of the books the library had digitized—but they are either very old and rare or out of print, and nowhere to be easily found.  Check out some of the amazing collections DocSouth has made available over the years here.

Enter UNC Press!  Together, UNC Libraries and the Press can work together to use the latest trends and technologies in digital publishing to meet this need.  With their powers combined, the digitized book content will be made available in downloadable e-book format for the increasingly popular e-reader devices.  They’ll also be available as Print-on-Demand paperbacks, and both formats will be unaltered from their original editions.

This is an affordable and practical solution to breathing new life into rare works  and making them accessible to new generations for a variety of uses.  It’s also an exciting publishing venture that showcases what university presses and libraries can contribute to the academic community (and beyond, in this case!) when they collaborate.

So what can we expect from these books?  The first titles that will be available were selected from DocSouth’s most popular and frequently used texts, which include several slave narratives, a collection of songs, autobiography, and even a pamphlet by a free black man that serves as a call-to-arms for slaves to rebel and free themselves.  Together, this initial set of books fills what has long been considered an unheard set of voices and an underrepresented  yet important thread in the fabric of the South’s early history.  To see the full list of DocSouth titles, click here.  They’ll be available in September, but you can pre-order now!