Home » Copyright, Fantasy/SciFi » Brooklyn bookshop saving out-of-print sci-fi, one e-book at a time

Brooklyn bookshop saving out-of-print sci-fi, one e-book at a time

3 September 2012

From ars technica:

With its dramatic cover art and fantastical story plots, science fiction dared readers to dream of amazing possible futures filled with aliens, robots, and all sorts of gadgetry. Now, ironically, some of the earliest books of the genre find themselves precariously near extinction, never to make it to the future they describe. Until Singularity & Co came onto the scene, that is.

. . . .

Each month, Singularity & Co—with the help of its community—chooses one great out-of-print or obscure science fiction novel, tracks down the copyright holders and makes that work available in DRM-free PDF, Epub, and Mobi format for subscribers.

Founded in April, after a massively successful Kickstarter campaign that earned them 350 percent of their $15,000 (£9,500) goal and kudos from authors like Neil Gaiman, Cory Doctorow and Ken McLeod, Singularity & Co hasn’t always had the easiest time unraveling vintage sci-fi’s copyright issues. “We knew it would be difficult to track down the legal status of the books, but it’s simply much harder than we though it would be,” said James.

Books get lost along the way for a variety of reasons. There could be no perceived demand for it, publication rights become muddled, or the books are simply forgotten. Sometimes, things get political. “It’s really sad because a lot of really great books get lost not because nobody wants them but because people with lots of money who claim they have the rights are stopping people who have the rights from actually doing things. We hope to help these people down the road,” said Kalb, the lawyer of the group, who takes charge of helping authors and author estates untangle the copyright mess.

Link to the rest at ars technica and thanks to Joshua for the tip.

Copyright, Fantasy/SciFi

5 Comments to “Brooklyn bookshop saving out-of-print sci-fi, one e-book at a time”

  1. This is a fabulous effort. I’ll be running over to Kickstarter to help fund it.

    It’s unfortunate that they’re only doing SF, but then, there’s so much to be done in the area of lost and orphaned works, they will have their hands full with one genre.

    Project Gutenberg and similar efforts do so much to save public domain works, but once you hit that legal boundary… books just plain get lost. Forgotten. Some gone forever. And without efforts like this, only piracy stands in the way of oblivion.

  2. Good for them! If there is one thing worth preserving, it’s science fiction. Science fiction represents the dreaming of mankind at any stage in the culture. It also represents the culture extremely well, through unchallenged assumptions in the books. Well worth preserving and studying.

  3. Awesome people!!

  4. I wish they’d name and shame the libraries that refuse to allow scanning.

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