The book “The Sea Shells of Jeffreys Bay” can now be found at the JBay Shell Museum.
What makes this delivery special is that the book by Douw and Elise Steyn, originally published in 1999, was totally out of print.
The original publisher no longer exists, and the original content material – colour plates and text – was nowhere to be found.
Petro Meyer of the Humansdorp Museum Association, curators of the Shell Museum, takes up the story:
“When the Humansdorp Museum Association first became involved with the Shell Museum, a knowledgeable “Shell lady”, Susan Hammond, was appointed to assist in the museum.
She mentioned that visitors were enquiring about the book, of which, at that time, the Museum possessed only one copy, which was being used to assist visitors and locals who wanted to know more about a specific shell,” said Petro.
“After a search, we found a number of copies in a local shell shop and bought most of their supply. We found that they were selling quite well, and when we began to run out, we looked for more copies, only to find there were none.
We contacted the author, Professor Steyn, and he gave us permission to reprint the book.
The Tourism Department of Kouga Municipality assisted with the printing cost of the book to ensure that the book would still be available for locals and visitors.
“The original printers had unfortunately closed down and that made the whole process more complicated as it meant that the book had to be redone from scratch.
This however created an opportunity to do some corrections, as with more modern technology available, the classification of a few shells had changed since the time of the original publication and the new classifications could be included.
“Prof Steyn agreed that the Humansdorp Museum Association would take over the copyright to the second edition to ensure that no unauthorised copies of the book would be distributed.
The museum agreed to pay a small royalty to the author. The new edition has a brand-new cover to make it easy to distinguish from the original one.”