Fifteen years since its original, long since sold-out publication, Kelly Klein's masterful, artistic, historic and fanciful coffee table book “POOLS” was finally reissued in the spring of 2007.
A bit of historical perspective on how this book came into being in the first place is quite interesting and will help illuminate how far and accepting the publishing industry has come in some areas of marketing and promoting certain aspects of the professional aquatic world.
In the late 1980s, Klein and her then-husband (and still close friend) Calvin were thinking of building a new pool at their newly purchased, 1891-built home in East Hampton, Long Island. Klein went in search of books, a book, any book to help with design and construction ideas and could find none.
Now you might think, “That can't be, there are at least a dozen such books on the market…today.”
Before “POOLS,” the only readily available book on pool design, landscaping and maintenance was the annual Sunset magazine publication (1st edition, 1970). It was only about 110 pages and had some decent black & white photos. It was a collaborative effort of a number of contractors in the swimming pool building industry and the National Swimming Pool Institute.*
Back to Klein…in coming up “dry” in her attempt to find a book on pools, she set about to cultivate her own. By the time “POOLS” was first published in 1992, she had assembled a wonderful collection of 187 images and photographs ranging from historic views, to modern design, to artful contributions that truly express a pure love of water and the recreational value contained therein.
Esther Williams, a friend of Klein's, wrote the introductory note to the text on what water and swimming meant to her. More colorful and sincere words could not have been written, from this living Matriarch/Legend of Swimming.
The original edition cost $100 and sold out 10,000 copies. The book received fantastic reviews from across the country for its effort and content. Klein's proceeds from the book were donated to charity including the New York City AIDS Foundation. Now these editions can be found through book dealers online commanding prices rarely less than $500 to well over $1000 for a mint copy. Expect to pay a premium for the occasionally available signed volume.
The 2007 edition of “POOLS” can be found on many online book sellers' listings. And though since its re-release it has had some mixed reviews, Klein herself states in the forward of this second edition that she still receives many requests for the long ago, sold out book and that she wanted to make it available again for anyone.
Klein continues to inspire a new generation and rich cottage industry of many fine books on swimming pools.
* Note: There were other books written to date. Four such books include Modern Swimming Pools of the World by Dr. Dietrich Fabian (U.S. edition 1958); BADER, a comprehensive text from Germany also written by Fabian (1960); the rare French book Les Piscines by Jacques Debaigts (1973); and Design and Planning of Swimming Pools written by John Dawes (London's Architectural Press, 1979). None of these books were obviously available at the time, and all are collectors items today.