Folks have been talking about the big news all day: Gollancz is creating a new imprint designed to published ebooks of author’s backlists. It’s called the SF Gateway (they’re also on Twitter). One part “social network” and one part back list publishing scheme, this is probably a step in the right direction for Gollancz (and Orion Publishing Group).
Here’s the text from the press release (the PDF can be found here):
Gollancz, the SF and Fantasy imprint of the Orion Publishing Group, announces the launch of the world’s largest digital SFF library, the SF Gateway, which will make thousands of out-of-print titles by classic genre authors available as eBooks.
Building on the remarkable success of Gollancz’s Masterworks series, the SF Gateway will launch this Autumn with more than a thousand titles by close to a hundred authors.
It will build to 3,000 titles by the end of 2012, and 5,000 or more by 2014. Gollancz’s Digital Publisher Darren Nash, who joined the company in September 2010 to spearhead the project said, “The Masterworks series has been extraordinarily successful in republishing one or two key titles by a wide range of authors, but most of those authors had long careers in which they wrote dozens of novels which had fallen out of print. It seemed to us that eBooks would offer the ideal way to make them available again. This realization was the starting point for the SF Gateway.” Wherever possible, the SF
Gateway will offer the complete backlist of the authors included.
The SF Gateway will be closely integrated with the recently announced new online edition of The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, which provides an independent and definitive reference source of information on the authors and books included. Direct links between the Encyclopedia and the Gateway will provide easy access to eBook editions, for sale through all major online retailers.
The Gateway site will also act as a major community hub and social network for SF readers across the world, allowing them to interact with each other and recommend titles and authors. The site is planned to include forums, blogs, regular promotions, and is envisaged to become the natural home on the net for anyone with an interest in classic SFF.
Authors featured in the launch include such names as Marion Zimmer Bradley, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Arthur C. Clarke, Philip K. Dick, Frank Herbert, Alice B. Sheldon (James Tiptree, Jr), Robert Silverberg, Kate Wilhelm and Connie Willis. A full list of authors so far under contract is appended to this announcement; negotiations are in an advanced state for many more.
There’s much more to be read in the PDF if you’re interested (it includes the impetus behind SF Gateway’s creation and other fun stuff). The project is set to take off in September, which is mighty soon!
Personally, I think this is a pretty cool thing to do, and it’s something I said should have been done years ago when POD publishing was taking off. Why would publishers ever let books go out of print when they have the tools necessary to keep things in print for as long as they have the right to print the books? Not doing so means lost revenue, even if author back lists only sell a few books here or there. So, I’m quite fond of the idea!
What do you all think about the new project?