Friday, September 12, 2008


Does io9 know anything about science fiction in book form?

They had a post yesterday about HarperCollins UK's new Angry Robot imprint, which, in two short paragraphs (one of them mostly quoted) manages to:
  • forget to mention what country this publishing program is operating in
  • be impressed that "big publishers" have "imprints"
  • consider "2-3 books per month" to be "a hell of a lot of scifi writing"
On that last point, the US currently supports at least the canonical nine hells (Ace, Roc, DAW, Eos, Del Rey, Bantam Spectra, Baen, Night Shade, Orbit), plus Tor, which publishes most months three or four hells worth of SFF books.

The UK is a slightly smaller market, so they might not be up to nine hells yet. But I'm sure they're working on it!

io9 is the David Itzkoff of the Internet.


Natalie said...

I thought I was the only one who thought their knowledge of book SF seemed kind of, well, skimpy.

KatG said...

You forgot Pyr in the U.S. -- ten hells, at least. Lou is going to be mad at you.

Andrew Wheeler said...

KatG: Pyr has at least one book a month, but I'm not sure if they consistently have two to three a month -- I left them off because I suspected they were still at an io9ish "heck" level.

Fred Kiesche said...

i09. Ninety miles of coverage, one micron of depth.

I gave up on them when they asserted that Robert Redford had been in Robert Altman's "Quintet". After several of us pointed out that it was Paul Newman, not Robert Redford, the author said something along the lines of "well, you don't expect me to actually fact check my articles, do you?"

Lou Anders said...

We are graduating from Heck to Hell now, as we are jumping from 20 books a year to 29 books a year as of our Spring-Summer 2009 season.

Blue Tyson said...

Mr. Wheelter, other than the most excellent tenth level and archfiend extraordinaire Anders' excellent news, do you know ballpark numbers of how many books the other nine levels cast forth from the abyss each month>

Andrew Wheeler said...

Blue Tyson: As luck would have it, the September issues of Locus just arrived, with their quarterly listing of Forthcoming Books.

So I can use that to make some estimates (since publishing schedules ebb and flow).

Ace: about one hardcover, one tp, and two original mass-markets each month, plus several mass-market reprints.

Baen: about three hardcovers per month, plus about that many mass-markets (split between originals and reprints)

Del Rey: Three or four original trade titles (hardcover and trade paperbacks). Plus usually two mass-markets, mostly reprint. Plus the Lucasbooks line, for Star Wars titles, with at least one original a month. Plus the Del Rey Manga list, with two or three books a month in trade paperback, if you count those.

Bantam Spectra: more variable -- I see one month with only one mass-market book, but generally there's a trade title (tp or hc) each month, plus reprints (in tp or mm).

DAW: four or five books in total each month, with at least one original hardcover -- the other originals are generally mm rather than tp.

Eos: generally a hardcover every month (occasionally more), plus another one or two originals in paper. Plus reprints. Plus the YA line, which also carries the Eos imprint.

Night Shade: three books most months, usually with one original hardcover and one original trade paperback.

Orbit: two to four books a month, with at least one trade original (hc or tp) and the rest mass-market, either original or reprint.

Roc: generally six books a month: one each original tp and hc, usually an original mm or two, and then reprints.

Pocket: (who I missed the first time around) two or three Star Trek books a month, in various formats, plus other tie-in novels, plus occasional other books (generally with a tie-in flavor of some kind).

Tor: let's take December as an example, since otherwise this would take all day -- three original hardcovers, one reprint hc, one original trade paperback, one reprint tp, one original mass-market, six reprint mm. (That is a hell of a lot of books.)

This doesn't include any YA imprints, or any of the small presses that publish regularly but aren't up to the level of hell -- like Golden Gryphon or Tachyon. It also doesn't include big publisher imprints that don't do a lot of genre SFF on purpose, but might have two or three books with genre elements each month just because they publish a lot of books. Also, I see that Wildside (including its Juno imprint) publishes at least two books every month, which brings it up to the hell level. I may have missed others that consistently publish two books a month as well -- it's not a high level.

I also note, looking at this list, that the SFBC no longer sends its lists to Locus. That used to be my job...

Blue Tyson said...

Thanks very much.

Charlie Jane Anders said...

I actually do think it's cool that Harper Collins is publishing that many books a month, so I'm not sure why you think that's lame. We cover books every day on io9, but we also cover futurism, science, games and media SF.

Oh, and I was the one who erroneously said Robert Redford was in Quintet. But Fred is mis-representing my response. I never said anything about fact-checking. In fact, I said that I felt Robert Redford and Paul Newman were interchangeable. (And yes, it was a tongue-in-cheek response.)

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