Zoe’s Tale: Not in SFBC
Posted on July 22, 2008 Posted by John Scalzi 25 Comments
For those of you hoping to pick up a copy of Zoe’s Tale via the Science Fiction Book Club, I have some bad news, which is that SFBC won’t be carrying it. The reason for this is fairly uncomplicated: they made an offer for it which we felt wasn’t acceptable, so we didn’t accept it. This was a little sad for me — the OMW books had done pretty well in their SFBC editions, and I liked having them there — but that’s business sometimes. It will, of course, be available just about anywhere else hardcover books are sold, so it won’t be like you won’t be able to find it otherwise. So that’s good.
In any event, just a head’s up for you SFBC subscribers.
That’s disappointing. In my formative SF years I was a member and felt much like George Bailey being an “official explorer” (Only us Explorers can get it!). The SF Book club was my window into what was new and honored in the SF world. I can’t count how many wonderful worlds I was exposed to due to failure to reject the monthly selection.
This was, of course, before the Internets.
If you’re willing I’d be interested to know your opinion of the service in general, and what sales were like through that channel.
As noted, sales were generally pretty good, and in a general sense I like the SFBC. I do think it and other book clubs are going through a lot of turmoil recently, thanks to ownership changes, etc., and I’m curious to see how that all sorts out.
What is this? Football contract negotiations in the media?
“I’d love to continue playing for the home team, but can’t take a home team discount. It’s not me, it’s those horrible people underpaying me.”
LOL – well played, Scalzi, well played.
Well, no, I don’t expect them to come back with a counter-offer. This was all settled a while back, and I just hadn’t gotten around to mentioning it.
I figured. I just find the post amusing.
I mean, as blog readers, we have no idea whether they offered the same, less, or moderately more than the previous contracts – (nor would or should we need to know).
We just know that it was unacceptable to you. :)
I would never have read any of your books without SFBC. Used to be, their blurb writers were my very best source of new authors. They just had a way of saying the right things about a book to tell me if I’d like it or not.
Then, a couple of years ago, they fired their editorial staff, and brought in people who apparently hate science fiction. I’ve heard a rumor the owners are actively trying to kill SFBC and merge its customer list in to one of the other clubs they own.
If they aren’t going to carry books by one (or more) of the best authors around today, I wish they’d do just that, and get it over with.
I’m curious what would make the offer unacceptable…. wouldn’t it be better to take an offer for pennies that would put the book with another seller, rather than not get any of those pennies at all? I assume turning this down doesn’t mean extra copies go into B&N or Amazon.
Was what they offered not enough to even cover cost of printing and shipping? Maybe I just answered my own question then… but that seems silly on SFBC’s part.
Looking forward to ZT — and hoping that TLC makes it to audio/Audible someday, I enjoyed the first two OMW books there.
“wouldn’t it be better to take an offer for pennies that would put the book with another seller, rather than not get any of those pennies at all?”
No, not really. The SFBC royalty rate is substantially lower than what I get in retail. Also, SFBC buys a license to create its own copies of the work; the number of copies Tor prints is unchanged. Retail has been pretty bullish about the book, so we don’t expect this to be a problem.
Here’s hoping that the Swiss Federal Banking Commission make you a better offer.
Indeed! I love me the Swiss.
You might not want to answer this, but… was it a question of money, or a question of usage? (I.e., did you and Tor want more money than the SFBC was willing to offer, or did you want a Selection and they wouldn’t do that?)
And did this have anything to do with the story that you were going to write for a SFBC original anthology?
(I’ve been out of there for a year now, and don’t have any contact with the new folks, so I’m asking out of pure nosyness and a past knowledge of similar situations from the other side. I know you’ll ignore me if I’m being impertinent.)
Per your instructions I have canceled my subscription to such an evil organization, have booked a flight to their headquarters for some first class vandalism and contacted some of my friends in the waste management industry about their display of disrespect.
That WAS the subtext of this post right?
Wait… are we supposed to destroy the swiss or the science fiction book club now? I is confused.
Don’t destroy the Swiss! Too much good cheese and chocolate (sometimes together).
I don’t think it’s appropriate to discuss the specifics publicly (so send me an e-mail).
Trust me, you can’t destroy the Swiss! They boast that they can mobilize their entire countyy for war in 12 hrs! I believe it.
No on one, yes on two.
Andrew at #11 :
Damn. Another blog to add to my Google Reader ™.
I don’t like doing business with the Swiss. There are always holes in their contracts.
I like(d) SFBC for trying on new authors to see if they fit (That’s how I 1st read OMW) – recently; however, it just doesn’t make sense – I can get a better made copy for about the same price from Amazon and usually get better service. I think the business model may be dead.
Gah! Now my books won’t match! The horror!
Not to snatch food out of your family’s mouth, John, but my copies of your books are all the cheaper SFBC editions.
Originally read Old Man’s War out of the public library, liked it, and have been keeping up via SFBC since.
#17; “was that No on 2, or Nuke the Russians?”
My copies of Old Man’s War and The Ghost Brigades don’t match either, but neither is the SFBC edition. I’d been meaning to read Old Man’s War for a while when the Tor promotion came out with the free ebook so I read it first that way. I eventually would have gotten around to it, but that definitely kick started the process. Then I picked up The Ghost Brigades in HC off amazon and just last month I finally picked up the Subterranean edition of Old Man’s War in HC. I also picked up Questions for a Soldier last week when I found somewhere selling it new for $20+ shipping which is apparently quite the deal these days.
It’s interesting because I finished reading Starship Troopers again the day before I got the ebook and read that so style similarities were apparent, but I don’t really think the comparison to that book are as great as some reviews say. Which is good. Old Man’s War wouldn’t be the book it is if you’d just gone off and ripped off Heinlein’s story and ran with it. I will say that Old Man’s War holds up quite well next to the Heinlein classic and was an equally enjoyable read. Anyone who likes the one will like the other so the comparison in that regard is spot on.
In general the only way I pick up book club editions is for older books I can’t find a hardcover at a reasonable price for and then I pick them up off ebay or somewhere and not from SFBC direct.
Incidentally if its any of my business…do you make more or less money off the Subterranean signed copies…than the Tor copies. I’d hope you’re making a bit more for them. You do have to you know sign all those sheets before they bind them in which seems like a bit of drudgery.