The Sexton Blake Library

Due to ongoing issues with my server, I'm temporarily changing the way in which I share files. For the time being, library members will need to tell me what issues they want (see the list of available scans below). I will then upload the issues in batches to a cloud service, such as Dropbox, and send a download link. Once the issues are retrieved, I'll need to be alerted so that I can upload the next batch.

The Sexton Blake PDF Library consists of scanned issues from my personal collection. New scans are added to it every month. The library is a private resource intended to preserve the Blake stories while making them eminently readable on computers, pads and mobiles.

There are more than 6,200 files in the library. Where an issue is either missing from my physical collection or is present but has not yet been scanned, it is represented by an empty placeholder text file. There are, of course more of these than PDF files, as scanning every issue I own — and hunting for and purchasing those that I don't — is a mammoth, time-consuming and expensive task.

The PDFs are optimised for quality rather than for size and the files are therefore quite large (the entire library is currently more than 300GB).

In the case of ANSWERS, PENNY PICTORIAL, KNOCKOUT, VALIANT and a few other items where the Blake stories are outweighed by other content, only the relevant material has been scanned, rather than the entire publication.

A small number of the older scans are of a lower quality. I'm gradually replacing these with better versions. Library members can help with this by alerting me to any blurry text or missing pages they encounter.

You can join the library via contribution or through subscription. You will then be able to download the PDFs.

1). Membership by Contribution
Add something to the library and receive something in return!

Where issues are in my collection but have not yet been scanned:
For every good-quality scan that you contribute, you can choose a PDF from the library.

Where issues are not in my collection:
For every good-quality scan that you contribute, you can choose five PDFs from the library.

Where issues are on my "Most Wanted" list (see below):
For every good-quality scan that you contribute, you can choose ten PDFs from the library.

2). Membership by Subscription
For an initial fee of £150 (or the equivalent in $ or €), you can gain a month's access to the full library. This is sufficient time to download the complete contents. Once your month is up, you can extend your access for an additional £50 per consecutive month. This will allow you to download my additions to the library as they are uploaded. Those additions will be announced on this page (see the text files below), on the Facebook Sexton Blake Society page, and on the BLAKIANA Twitter account. If your subscription lapses for a month or more, you will need to pay the initial fee again to rejoin.

If you take a look at Ebay's average winning bids for Blake material, you'll see that this is a pretty phenomenal deal!

To exchange issues or to make a subscription payment, please contact me via my Facebook page, the Sexton Blake Society, or on Twitter.

In receiving or downloading scans, you are becoming a member of a private library and must therefore abide by its single rule, which is that you will not distribute issues or upload them to other sites. The point of the subscription model is to raise money to assist with the upkeep of this website. It is therefore preferable that my library remains as exclusive as possible.

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Remove staples! Issues lie flatter with their staples removed, which makes for easier scanning, but the real reason you should take them out is that they are a primary cause of damage. The metal rusts and releases acids into the paper causing it to rot and crumble. Better to have loose pages kept safe in binder sleeves than pages that are falling apart!

Flatbed scanners have limitations. Few of them are large enough to handle an issue of DETECTIVE WEEKLY or BOYS FRIEND, for example, and with bound issues it's difficult to open the book widely enough without breaking its spine. I've found that the camera on my mobile does a much better job (I have an iPhone 6 but I'm sure other mobiles have cameras that are just as good). Even with an unsteady hand, I get nice sharp images which are then easy to convert into PDF format. I do this conversion manually on my Mac but there are plenty of phone apps that can do it all for you.

It helps if you follow my naming convention for the files, though this isn't a strict necessity.