Lots of publishers sell through Amazon, Kobo, iBooks and other large e-bookshops. But readers may not know that many of those same publishers also sell their books through independent retailers or direct from their own websites.
Each week, this new series promotes a selection of bookshops, centred around a particular genre. We're continuing this second week with Science Fiction.
For last week's selection take a peek at Discover Indie Romance Bookshops.
Like the Romance publishers we looked at last week, Science Fiction publishers have a record of trying new things. Tor Books were the first of the Big Six publishers to announce they would sell their e-books without DRM.
Tor's reasoning at the time was that their science fiction readers were more likely to prefer DRM-free e-books:
“It’s clear to us that this is what our customers want,” said senior editor Patrick Nielsen Hayden. “We see it in the success of SF publishers like Baen and Angry Robot that have preceded us in going DRM-free.
Outside of the Big Six, many science fiction publishers have been DRM-free for a while. As Hayden mentioned above, Baen and Angry Robot have been extremely successful selling books without DRM. Rebellion started selling DRM-free in 2006, and even smaller publishers and bookshops have been at it even longer. Proving Tor's point that the science fiction audience are the right people to buy DRM-free e-books.
Both Aqueduct and Phoenix Pick have been around since the 90s, judging by their websites, but the fact they're still around says a lot about their books and their publishing skills.
Science Fiction publishers are another genre that have found success selling direct, but many of them seem to be shooting themselves in the foot at the same time. They continue to push their customers towards Amazon, instead of really getting behind their direct-sales bookshops. Only by really directing customers to their own shop can they be truly independent.
The Science Fiction Bookshops
There are so many bookshops that sell science fiction titles that I had to limit my selection a little. I've concentrated on those that are predominantly science fiction bookshops. The list is still HUUUUGE, but you might get a bit more out of it this way.
So here's my selection of Science Fiction bookshops to look out for. They all sell DRM-free e-books.
An e-book imprint of Solaris books. With categories ranging from Apocalypse to Zombies and Gore, you know what you're getting from Rebellion. Along with lots of Judge Dredd titles, they also stock the latest by Juliet E. McKenna.
Baen Books offer their titles in the widest range of formats I've seen, including: Mobi/Kindle/Palm, EPUB/Nook/Stanza, Sony LRF, Rocketbook, RTF, MS Reader and HTML/Online. They predominantly offer science-fiction and fantasy.
Angry Robot Books only offer books in ePub format, but have a firm belief in the strength of DRM-free publishing. If you're happy to convert the books to Mobi yourself, for use on a Kindle, you should be okay. A large selection from a variety of genre publishers, including plenty of science-fiction; fantasy; steampunk; alternative history, as well as some really interesting magazines.
For twenty years, Tachyon have been publishing award winning smart science fiction, fantasy, and literary fiction. Famous for their anthologies, such as The Sword and Sorcery Anthology, Lovecraft's Monsters and Treasury of the Fantastic. Their e-books are available in ePub, MOBI and PDF formats.
Apex is a small press that publishes works of science fiction, horror, fantasy and non-fiction. At the moment, they have around 40 e-book titles for sale, available in ePub, MOBI and PDF formats, all included in a single Zip download. They have beautifully crafted cover images and are heavily discounted compared to their paperback counterparts.
"Bundoran Press publishes quality science fiction novels and anthologies."
It seems they also publish fantasy novels.
Their titles are available as a zip file containing both MOBI and ePub formats.
"Aqueduct Press dedicates itself to publishing challenging, feminist science fiction. We promise to bring our readers work that will stretch the imagination and stimulate thought."
Based in Seattle, USA, Aqueduct have an active stream of publications on the way for both 2015 and 2016.
Their books are available in both ePub and MOBI formats and cover categories such as fiction, non-fiction and poetry, as well as a few specific imprints especially for convention events.
Aqueduct provide a large and growing catalogue that supports an important area of discourse.
"Fantastic Books Publishing is a family run, independent publishing house based in East Yorkshire.
We pride ourselves on delivering extremely high quality e, print and audio books while maintaining our foundation of charitable giving with all of our projects."
If you want to know more about how Fantastic Books bucks trends, take a look at their inspiring History page.
Fantastic Books offer a huge range of genres, including Science Fiction, Fantasy, Autobiography, Crime, Poetry, Paranormal, Humour, Literary Fiction, Horror, How To, Childrens, and Cookbooks.
They are also official licencees of fiction based on the Elite: Dangerous computer game.
Customers receive all three ePub, Mobi and PDF formats with their purchase.
Phoenix Pick is a hidden gem. Based in Maryland, US, they have a surprisingly large catalogue of speculative fiction titles.
Take a look at the author listing for an idea of their selection.
E-books are usually available in both ePub and Mobi formats.
"Hex Publishers is an independent publishing house proudly specializing in genre fiction: horror, science fiction, crime, dark fantasy, comics, and any other form that explores the imagination. Founded by writers, Hex values both the author and the reader, with an emphasis on quality, diversity, and voices often overlooked by the mainstream."
With only a few titles for sale, Hex Publishers made a name for themselves with their CyberWorld anthology.
Hex also publish WORDS Zine, a free monthly fiction magazine.
E-books are available in ePub, MOBI, and PDF formats, they also sell bundles that include soundtracks and paperback/hardback + e-book combinations.
An e-bookshop that only sells DRM-free Star Trek books.
Simon & Schuster have certainly done the right thing here, making a major science fiction book collection available DRM-free. Talk about finally understanding your audience.
With books from every series and one I've never heard of, there's something for every Trek fan.
There is no information about the book formats available, but I would guess it's ePub only.
But there's definitely no need for this Captain Proton novel.
The Black Library is the bookshop for the tabletop gaming company, Games Wokshop's, many titles.
The catalogue includes fiction set in their popular Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000 settings along with many of their other properties.
Black Library provide both ePub and Mobi versions of their titles.
Andrew Burt founded ReAnimus Press to:
"help fellow authors get their out-of-print books and short works back into readers' hands, and to publish high-quality new releases."
With authors like Ben Bova, Karen Haber and Severna Park on board, ReAnimus offers a huge range of titles, mainly from the science fiction and fantasy genres.
Books are available in ePub and Mobi formats.
Books by the late US author Jack Vance range from science fiction to mystery, and from a variety of pen names.
A lot of work has gone in to producing these digital titles, but they are only available to buy from the US. However, if you're located in the US and want to get hold of this legendary author's work, this site is for you. Many of the books also have new cover art.
Titles are available in ePub and Mobi formats.
As I mentioned earlier, these are not the only places to buy science fiction e-books that I know of, but they are ones that concentrate on that genre. Take a look at their wares and see if you find a publisher you love. Buy from them direct, if you can, to ensure the author gets a bigger cut, and we readers continue to enjoy our groundbreaking science fiction.
You can find these and other bookshops in my DRM-free Bookshops list.
In next week's Discover Indie Bookshops, we'll take a closer look at Crime bookshops. Now there's a genre with some interesting stuff going on. In the dark. Behind closed doors. With knives...
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