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Infinity plus in print

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Keith Brooke
Posted on Wednesday, February 05, 2003 - 04:36 am:   

So far we've ventured into print on two occasions: the Infinity Plus One anthology in November 2001, and then we guest-edited an issue of Interzone in March 2002. Recent news is that two stories from infinizone (by Michael Swanwick and Paul Park) are on the six-strong BSFA Award shortlist!

Next up: Infinity Plus Two, again from PS Publishing, due in March 2003 (as soon as we get all the signed endpapers together and off to the printers). Stories from Vonda McIntyre, Steve Baxter, Adam Roberts, Lucius Shepard and 9 others.
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gabe
Posted on Wednesday, February 05, 2003 - 08:24 am:   

Keith,

I really enjoyed Infinity Plus One, so I'm looking forward to Infinity Plus Two with great anticipation. You do Good Things.

--gabe chouinard from down-board
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Jay Caselberg
Posted on Thursday, February 06, 2003 - 01:04 am:   

Keith, sounds good. I look forward to seeing it.

Oh and good to meet you at...was it Mike Harrison's launch or one of the Princess Louise bashes? Can't remember, they all sort of blur into one another after a while.
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Jorge Candeias
Posted on Thursday, February 06, 2003 - 08:43 am:   

Hi, Keith!

How's been the experience? Do people buy the books even though everything is freely available on the web? Well, if there's a I+ 2 coming up, I'm sure sales happen, so what I'd like to know is: does the fact that the book comes out of a freely available website help saling it? Or is it the other way around and the books sell despite of all it's content being online?
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Keith
Posted on Friday, February 07, 2003 - 04:56 am:   

Jay: yes, it was at the MJH launch for Light - ages since I've been to the Princess Louise. Good to meet you, too.

Glad you liked IP1, Gabe.

And Jorge: the stories in the IP anthologies don't actually come from the website. The contributors are all associated with the site, but we ask each to choose a story of their own that really matters to them - one that they hope will get renewed attention and might otherwise be hard to find.

I'm not sure about the argument about whether having stuff online stops it selling print. I think it can work both ways. From my own perspective, there are books and magazines I'd buy anyway, and I'd rather read them from the printed page; there are ones that just don't grab me; and then there are all those in between, where reading a sample online might help the decision. So from all those borderline readers, putting stuff online may persuade some of them to actually buy, just as it'll put some off; and some people will settle for reading free stuff on the web rather than buying books and mags. Who knows how the sums work out? I just like the idea of the open-ness of the web, and as long as there isn't clear evidence that it's damaging my interests I'll go with that.
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Vera Nazarian
Posted on Friday, February 07, 2003 - 07:07 am:   

Hey guys!

Has anyone tried to get Paul Barnett down here?

:-)

Vera
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Keith
Posted on Friday, February 07, 2003 - 07:54 am:   

Yup - I asked Paul yesterday. Perhaps if we all ask him he'll drop in!
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Jorge Candeias
Posted on Friday, February 07, 2003 - 12:56 pm:   

Duh!...

Silly me, I simply assumed that all the stuff in Infinity Plus One was taken from the website and didn't even get to the point of checking out the anthology's TOC... :-}

So, the test is still to be made, right? Nobody knows, for now, how would work an actual book filled with online stuff.

It would be an interesting experiment, even if not really successeful commercially...
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Luís
Posted on Friday, February 07, 2003 - 02:27 pm:   

Jorge,

You can also ask Cory Doctorow, whose DOWN AND OUT IN THE MAGIC KINGDOM is freely available for download.

Anyway, Fantastic Metropolis is also going to take that test in an upcoming anthology, titled BREAKING WINDOWS. I'm hopeful it'll do well, but even if it doesn't, at least print-on-demand will minimize the risks.

Cheers,
Luís
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Luís
Posted on Friday, February 07, 2003 - 02:36 pm:   

Eric Flint and other authors have free books online too: http://www.baen.com/library/

Best, Luís
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Keith Brooke
Posted on Saturday, February 08, 2003 - 03:35 am:   

...and my own Lord of Stone first appeared online, then Cosmos did a revised edition in print with the online version remaining available for free. Hard to say whether sales would have been any different if I'd pulled the earlier edition from the web, but the people at Wildside/Cosmos saw the online version as good publicity for their print edition.
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Luís
Posted on Saturday, February 08, 2003 - 04:38 am:   

Of course! I knew about your book and forgot to mention it . . . My apologies.

Personally, I believe it matters little if a whole novel is freely available online (so long as the author doesn't mind, natch). Maybe things will change in the future, if electronic paper becomes a popular and viable alternative to reading on screen. Then things can get really nasty. In the meantime, printing a book can still be more expensive than buying it from a bookshop, not to mention you'd have to bind the sheets yourself.

The only proven drawback lies with the people who dislike what they read online and so won't buy the book. On the other hand, what's the difference between them and the folks who sample a few pages while in the bookshop, or at Amazon.com? Not to mention that people have been borrowing books from friends and public libraries for ages . . . While MP3 and DivX may hurt record and DVD sales, I don't think the same holds true for books.

Myself, I prefer the good old format. I love to own books, to hold them, and (as Zoran Zivkovic says) "the erotic fact that I can take them to bed". I like their weight, their presence, the touch of the pages, the smell of paper and ink and glue. Nothing can ever replace that.

Cheers, Luís
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Jorge
Posted on Saturday, February 08, 2003 - 06:19 am:   

Unless, of course, those folks at the electronic paper R&D come up with heavy, slightly rough on touch, smelly (of ink and paper, naturally, and also glue) electronic paper...

You may shiver now.
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David Hebblethwaite
Posted on Saturday, February 08, 2003 - 08:05 am:   

Hello folks,

First of all, may I say what a pleasure it is to have a message board for IP -- at last, a public place for us readers to throw virtual bouqets/brickbats/anything else at its contributors!

And to give my opinions on the issues raised here: I think the main factor that would stop the IP anthologies from selling is the price. I know it's going to stop me from buying IP2, and I'm sure it's the same for others.

As for the more general question of web vs book publishing, I think it's still the case that reading books is more comfortable or convenient than reading from a screen; so I don't see that the web will damage print fiction sales. For example, I subscribed to Tad Williams' Shadowmarch project, which proved not to be commercially viable online and is now being turned into a book. And even though I paid for electronic fiction, I still printed the stories out instead of reading them on screen.

On the other hand, a short story or novel extract online can be a useful taster of an unfamiliar author's work, which could well increase sales. So maybe the Net has a use after all...

Dave
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Keith Brooke
Posted on Saturday, February 08, 2003 - 11:29 am:   

Yes, I know price is an issue with our anthologies. We tried sporadically over the years to place the idea of an IP anthology series but didn't find a publisher willing to pay enough up front for us to offer contributors a realistic fee. Then PS Publishing came in with enthusiastic backing and gave us the offer to produce the series in high quality hardback editions. As Zoran (via Luis) says, books as objects have a lot of, er, attraction and PS are doing a brilliant job with them.
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Jorge
Posted on Sunday, February 09, 2003 - 09:17 am:   

Price is the major problem with PS Publishing, and that is not specific to the I+ anthologies. The books themselves may be superb, but to many folks, myself included, such prices are simply prohibitive. Regardless of how great the books may be.

Of course, it's a business. And if they stay in business that obviously means that they have enough customers...
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Ariel
Posted on Monday, February 10, 2003 - 04:29 am:   

Thought you all might liek to know that I've just completed the latest update of the PS Publishing website (www.pspublishing.co.uk), including more details on IP2, (here).

Cheers

Ariel
Webguy, PS Publishing
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Jorge
Posted on Monday, February 10, 2003 - 04:42 am:   

A-ha! I was not the only one to be fooled!

This quote: "A ground-breaking anthology from some of the very best writers in the business today, assembled from the electronic 'pages' of one of the Internet's most valuable resources for intelligent science fiction of high literary quality." is from none other than Gardner Dozois...

You probably should make clearer that the books do not include material from the site, Keith. :-)
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Nicholas Liu
Posted on Thursday, February 13, 2003 - 04:21 am:   

Luís: "Anyway, Fantastic Metropolis is also going to take that test in an upcoming anthology, titled BREAKING WINDOWS. I'm hopeful it'll do well, but even if it doesn't, at least print-on-demand will minimize the risks."

This reader would buy it in a jiffy, and another copy for each of his friends. Sadly this reader does not have very many friends.
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John Trainer
Posted on Friday, February 21, 2003 - 08:29 am:   

Noe question--have you any intention of doing a reprint antho of IP material? Even if through POD or something?
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Keith Brooke
Posted on Monday, February 24, 2003 - 04:38 am:   

Yes, we've considered doing a straight reprint of online IP material, but have no immediate plans.

One of the difficulties with the POD model in this case would be how to divvy up payments between contributors: royalties would probably be relatively low when split between 10 or 12 people, and small payments in foreign currencies (which it would be for some contributors) can be costly to cash.

Another difficulty is simply pressure of time...

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