Thursday, September 11, 2008

Now this is interesting....Harper's Angry Robot

The press release...

Harper launches new sci-fi imprint
11.09.08

HarperCollins is to launch a new science fiction imprint, which aims to have a global appeal, selling directly to consumers as well as through retail channels. Angry Robot's first titles will be published in July 2009. The publisher has hired Marc Gascoigne, former publisher of the Solaris and Black Library imprints at Games Workshop, as its head.

The imprint will publish two books per month, ramping up to three within the first two years. The majority of titles will be B format paperback originals but there are plans for limited edition hardbacks and deluxe versions.

"This year, and not for the first time, other areas of mass-media such as movies, television and computer games have enjoyed massive popular success across a variety of science fiction and fantasy subjects," said Gascoigne.

He will report to HarperCollins' m.d. Amanda Ridout and will work alongside publishing brand manager Chris Michaels to develop its sales, marketing and digital models. Ridout said that Gascoigne was "the perfect person to spearhead this innovative and creative venture". The business will be based in Nottingham and is expected to employ around five people by the end of its first year.

Michaels told The Bookseller that it would be a completely different model to HC's existing Voyager imprint. "We really see Voyager as the gold standard for science fiction," he said. "They take big name authors like Robin Hobb or Terry Goodkind. At Angry Robot we will be building the next wave of authors, people like Cory Doctorow or Fiona McIntosh who are on their first books with us at Voyager."

The imprint will target early adopters of science fiction, who begin reading the genre between the ages of 14 and 16, and the "massively aggressive consumers" of the titles, who are aged between 27 and 40

Angry Robot would have a transactional website, which will sell the imprint's titles as well as digital audio and e-books. "The trade paperback pricing will be at the generic standard," said Michaels. "The interesting thing is that there is no definitive business model. This is an opportunity to see what people want to pay for digital content."

Michaels said the imprint would also have print on demand books available for those "titles that have gone beyond their conventional shelftime".

13 comments:

Tim Akers said...

Fascinating!

Lou Anders said...

Isn't it though? All these new players in the last few years...

ces said...

What are "B format paperbacks" Lou?

It will be interesting to see how well these books by newer, not-as-well-known authors sell, and if they sell to their target audience or another group.

Mark Chadbourn said...

It's particularly interesting that a major like Harper Collins has gone with a model pioneered by "independents" like Pyr and Solaris. It reminds me of major label record companies in the eighties setting up their own indie label to try and snaffle some of the energy and street cred that the real indies had.

Lou Anders said...

Ces, and somebody correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe they are the UK equivalent of a trade paperback, though slightly smaller in trim size than say, Pyr's trades.

Mark, that's a very interesting analogy. The shape of things to come?

Tim Akers said...

Success blazes trails.

ces said...

Mark, yup, you got it!

Michael Rowley said...

'B' format paperbacks are basically a mass market paperback, but a slightly larger size and traditionally aimed at the more lit fiction/mid list titles, generally £1 more than the standard mass market (or 'A' ) format paperback. More recently though, publishers such as Gollancz have begun moving nearly all of their mass market books into B rather than A formats. We'd call a trade paperback (or 'C' format) something the size of a standard hardback, like the PYR paperbacks.

So basically, the A format would be about £6.99/£7.99; the B format would be about £7.99/£8.99 and the trade paperback anything between £9.99 and £14.99, usually depending on page count.

Lou Anders said...

Ah, I stand corrected. It's what we call a premium-size mass market then, which are priced at $9.99 over here.

Anonymous said...

While the lovely Michael is correct about what "B-formats" are... erm, The Bookseller got it wrong and my plans are rather more for mass-market paperbacks. They also misquoted the real press release in a variety of other ways but I guess that's journos for you...

Still, lots to do before we get to that stage... The last few days have been something of a whirlwind...

-- marco

Lou Anders said...

Wonderful to be someone who gets misquoted though! Good luck!

Spin the Moon said...

I agree, this is very interesting. I don't recall hearing a hint of this until now.

Anne Walls said...

I think this is great and about time. Publishers are finally seeing that "Genre" is actually mainstream. I blogged about this here (www.WordHustlerInk.WordHustler.com) so thanks for the info, Lou!
Best,
Anne Walls
www.WordHustler.com