Pleased to note that Best Served Cold, and the First Law Trilogy, are now available on e-book via Waterstones.com:
The prices are a tad disappointing – £10 and change for Best Served Cold when a hardback is selling at £8.50, and around £6 for the First Law books when mass-market paperbacks are available for a mere £4.
My own feeling about e-piracy and so forth is that it’s virtually impossible to put a stop to – the more popular you are the more torrents will endlessly spring up, and most of them in places where folks don’t respond to a polite email. The only effective way to combat it is to provide people with a higher quality service than pirates do, more easily available and at a price that seems reasonable. Then I think most will be happy to pay.
One problem is that a lot of users somehow think that e-books, since they don’t have to be printed, are pure profit for the publisher and should therefore be virtually free whereas, of course, the great majority of the costs that go into making a paper book (commissioning, editing, artwork, marketing, repping, promoting and, erm, paying the author) still apply with an ebook. Champions of a revolutionary future of free-love filesharing where writers and readers will all be liberated from the shackles of publishers tend to forget the vital role they play as gatekeepers and ensurers of a certain level of quality (you may think some books that are published are rubbish but believe me, until you’ve seen a slush pile you really have no idea).
Even so, selling ebooks at more than the cost of the paper books is going to look just a wee bit like taking the piss to some buyers, I suspect. I’d like to see them retail at most at the same price as the paper equivalents, and ideally somewhat lower. At the moment most publishers and booksellers are still focused on the paper market where heavy discounts are applying more and more widely, making ebooks something of a speciality item and hence relatively more expensive. Hopefully in due course that will change, and I’ll certainly be pressing them to lower the price as soon and as much as possible but, hey, it’s a start.
In other news, I am delighted to relate that Subterranean Press, purveyors of high quality limited and special editions to the world’s bibliophiles, will be publishing a signed limited edition illustrated hardcover of The Blade Itself. If it does well, and let’s all hope it does, they will follow up with the rest of the trilogy. Not sure of the details yet – how many shall be the print run, who shall be the artist, how many and what style of plates shall be involved, but they have a great track record of involving the author closely so you will know when I know. Believe me, these guys make some beautiful books.
And finally, I probably mentioned a little while ago that I was writing a short story for a Sword and Sorcery anthology. Just heard a list of names of some of the other authors who will be contributing, and it’s a strong line-up. VERY strong. Can’t give any names yet, but I think lovers of edgy and interesting fantasy both old and new will get quite excited about this one…