While mainstream publishers struggle to find their way in the digital age, this Boston-based publisher finds its niche in scholarly books on automotive history, racing and even children’s books.
Few know the world of auto racing as intimately as Joseph Freeman—or how simple twists of fate can help shape your life. In his youth, the editor, writer, passionate automotive historian and man behind Racemaker Press was a serious Formula Ford and Formula B racer until he broke his legs in a crash behind the wheel of his Brabham BT35.
“In 2004, while I was editing a book on curling, I said to the design assistant, ‘Gee, we could publish books on our own.’”
Freeman founded Racemaker Press three years later with a pair of children’s books, republishing two British titles that were rare and long out of print. The two books—Jimmy Murphy and the White Duesenberg and Nuvolari and the Alfa Romeo—proved so successful that Freeman secured the rights to release another, Paddy’s Racing Potato, about a poor Irish farmer who turns a giant potato into the world’s fastest race car.
It also allowed Freeman—an ex-Peace Corp volunteer who taught English on the island of Ngatik (Micronesia) in the Pacific for three years—to turn his attention to his real passion: serious titles on automotive racing history or, in his words, “scholarly works which had a small but guaranteed market outside of the big publishers.”
Since 2007, the Boston-based publisher has released 20 titles, which include: Prestige, Status and Works of Art: Selling the Luxury Car 1888-1942, a comprehensive and colorful catalogue of advertising literature and brochures compiled by the late Thomas Solley; The King of the Boards by Gary Doyle, which offers a profile of racer Jimmy Murphy who won the French Grand Prix in 1916 and the Indy 500 in 1922; Caribbean Capers by Joel Finn, an amazing historic and photographic tribute the Cuban Grand Prix Races of 1957, 1958 and 1960; and, most recently, The Winners Book by James O’Keefe, which Freeman describes as comprehensive listing of statistics from every major racing event from 1895 to 2009.
“It includes every statistic imaginable,” he says. “Track, distance, car, winner—it’s really an amazing piece of work.”
Even better for statistic hounds and automotive researchers, The Winners Book ($65) can be purchased with a companion CD (either $45 by itself or $20 extra when you buy the book), which takes the over 250,000 bits featured in the book and puts it in format you can search with the click of a mouse.
For more information these and many other unique automotive titles from Racemaker Press, check out www.racemaker.com .