Good news for science fiction fans

I was delighted to read about a republishing effort by a New York bookshop.  Ars Technica reports:

With its dramatic cover art and fantastical story plots, science fiction dared readers to dream of amazing possible futures filled with aliens, robots, and all sorts of gadgetry. Now, ironically, some of the earliest books of the genre find themselves precariously near extinction, never to make it to the future they describe. Until Singularity & Co came onto the scene, that is.

Lawyer Ash Kalb, musician-anthropologist Cici James, stylist-writer Jamil V Moen, and former Gawker media community manager Kaila Hale-Stern are the intrepid crew behind the Brooklyn-based bookshop. Each month, Singularity & Co—with the help of its community—chooses one great out-of-print or obscure science fiction novel, tracks down the copyright holders and makes that work available in DRM-free PDF, Epub, and Mobi format for subscribers.

Founded in April, after a massively successful Kickstarter campaign that earned them 350 percent of their $15,000 (£9,500) goal and kudos from authors like Neil Gaiman, Cory Doctorow and Ken McLeod, Singularity & Co hasn’t always had the easiest time unraveling vintage sci-fi’s copyright issues. “We knew it would be difficult to track down the legal status of the books, but it’s simply much harder than we though it would be,” said James.

. . .

As expected, authors and author estates are quite happy to get the call from Singularity & Co—not only because it means revived readership, but also, surprisingly, a better business deal. “We negotiated our first couple of deals based on what we thought was fair as opposed to what was normally done in the publishing industry,” said Kalb, “As a result—especially for backlist stuff—we’re offering just a much better deal. That’s because we know we can do things efficiently and make enough to keep going that way. We also want to make sure that we’re fair to everyone that we work with.”

There’s more at the link.  Singularity & Co. have established their own web site, where you can find more information.

I think this is a great idea!  I’ll be subscribing to it myself, and I hope all of my readers who enjoy this genre will do likewise.  It can only benefit all of us – not to mention the authors concerned.


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