“Drive-Ins of New Mexico” now available

When I took this photo 10 years ago, I had no idea it that I’d later use it in a book cover.

Everywhere I look, I see stories of drive-in theaters reopening for the spring season. That’s great, much better than the alternative, but I haven’t found any nice video tributes or otherwise interesting angles to post about here. So I’ll tell you the story of my latest book, which seems to be available for everyone but me.

(By the way, you can get more information about all of my books, including updates and links to some great photos that I couldn’t use, right here on Carload. Just click Books in the menu.)

Drive-Ins of New Mexico is a little different than my last two books. First of all, the epub edition is absolutely free, equipped with a Creative Commons license so anyone can download it and share it with friends, non-commercially. That version doesn’t include the dozens of illustrations that are in the print book, but everything else is there. Feel free to take a look and see whether you enjoy those bite-sized theater histories.

This New Mexico book is also designed to be sort of incomplete. I could have waited until I spent more time researching and reaching out to other historians in the state, but this way everyone can see what I know so far about all of those drive-ins. The epub edition should be easier to update when new information comes in.

But the epub isn’t enough. Some New Mexico contributors have been so generous with their time and effort that I needed to be able to send them a physical version of the book. My mom wants one too. So I spent a week quickly grabbing the images I’d accumulated and placing them like chocolate chips to add some visual flavor to the pages. Very few of those photos and clippings were in color, so I printed the book with greyscale images. That helped me keep the cost down.

Here’s what Drive-Ins of New Mexico was going to look like until the last-minute change

The book’s cover was going to use John Margolies’ excellent photo of Albuquerque’s Cactus Drive-In, taken about four years after it closed. It’s a great photo, and the Cactus was the state’s first large drive-in theater, but I was glad to switch to an alternative. At the last minute, the owner of the Fort Union Drive In Movie Theatre in Las Vegas NM gave me the okay to use my old photo of that drive-in for the cover. I always prefer to promote active drive-ins, even though my books are at least 90% full of closed drive-ins.

After a few rounds of proofs, I ordered a box of author’s copies of the box from Amazon. (I also use IngramSpark as a printer, and for bookstores that don’t like dealing with Amazon.) That box was listed as “Out for Delivery” a couple of weeks ago, but as I type, I still haven’t seen it. Heaven knows whatever happened to those books; Amazon considers them lost. I’ve ordered more from both of these printers, but I haven’t been able to send along copies to my contributors because I don’t have them yet.

So you, dear reader, can feel free to download the free epub, buy a physical copy from Amazon, or both. If you are one of those wonderful people who helped so much in making this book a reality, I’ll be mailing you a copy soon, I hope.