Tor.com

Why not direct? WOT Ebooks From Tor

The covers are incredible

Notable news
Tor.com have announced the launch of the ebook of the second book of the epic (though perhaps a new word should be created to describe the scale) series, Robert Jordan’s, Wheel of Time, The Great Hunt:

We’re happy to announce that The Great Hunt, volume two in Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time, is now available as an eBook from the Sony eBook Store and other online retailers. This edition sports a new cover and has been re-typeset especially for ebook production.

But riddle me this?
Why do they not just sell it direct? The multi-publisher bookstore provides just the platform, they have created an incredible audience and the property is a very, very good one. I cannot understand this decision. Sure the rest of Macmillan also avoids ebook sales listing instead other sellers on their site bit surely teh selling of a digital download is not THAT difficult? Is it?

Eoin
PS: The covers are quite frankly fantastic for the ebook series, savvy to redesign them!

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Tor.com is a publishing.com

Tor.com gets even smarter
Thanks to Digital Book World (haven’t had time to read my RSS fees today) I learned this by twitter:

The Tor.com Tweet

The Tor.com Tweet

Tor.com are launching Year’s Best Fantasy 9, POD only through Tor.com rather than Tor! The long and the short of it is this:

Tor.com is proud to announce the immediate availability of David G. Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer’s definitive anthology, Year’s Best Fantasy 9.
This highly anticipated release also marks something we’re particularly proud of: Tor.com’s debut as a publishing entity, distinct from Tor Books and as a separate imprint under our shared corporate overlords at Macmillan.
YBF 9 is available only as a print-on-demand book, in keeping with our mission of always exploring alternative forms of publishing. Similar to the launch of the Tor.com Store, this title is one of our various publishing projects that seek to experiment with the available alternatives to publishing’s traditional sales, distribution, and delivery mechanisms.

You can buy the book in their online story here.

How smart are they?
Very. This builds on their nicely and still quietly and matter-of-factly launched Publisher Agnostic Store (links goes to my article on that development).

This also reinforces the concept of the Digital Vertical Niche that Mike Shatzkin likes to speak of and which I am also a fan. I’m intrigued and I really hope this works becuase in terms of new business models, this move is pretty much at the forefront.

Looking forward to good results, saddened by other news though!
Eoin

Tor.com launches a “publisher agnostic” webstore

UPDATE: Tor.com becomes an imprint in itself!

The front page of the Tor.com store

The front page of the Tor.com store

Singing Praises
If you watched the Mike Shatzkin video (it has shuffled to new quarters now and offers a very fancy annotation system) I linked to last weekend about the digital shift, this news makes perfect sense. I wrote some time ago about the differences between the Tor.com community and the less developed Voyager books community, well now, Tor have taken a further giant leap ahead and launched a new store for the web community that they say:

offers science fiction and fantasy media from most major publishers—the only requirement is that the books in question relate to the genre in some form or another. In keeping with the spirit of our “…And Related Subjects” tagline, we’ve made sure to be as inclusive as possible, and are going to be constantly updating and refining the selection of titles available in the Store.

Smarts
Frankly, this is a game changing move and here is why. Tor has succeeded in capturing a great deal of attention relating to science fiction and fantasy in the online space. They have done this organically by offering decent services and interesting content to fans of the genres. Now they are adding, not so much a commercial layer as a further service to their members. The community is already buying books, they are already reading about books they might wish to buy on Tor.com. By offering a way to get these books to the community they have made life easier for the community members, at a stage when those members have already become used to allocating a great deal of their attention to Tor.com.

Naturally (and so long as prices are reasonable) they will use the site to buy books and not resent the fact that Tor will benefit. What’s more, Tor don’t need to clutter their site with lots of ads for books, links in CONTEXT will suffice. I’ve several times read reviews of books then had to leave the site to find a copy for sale, an in content link would have saved me time, hassle and probably money.

We’ll see more of this
I have long felt Tor.com was a sensible and exciting model for genre fiction publishers, in much the same way as Osprey’s site seems to be for military history. I have little doubt we will see other publishers try and develop sites with similar features. I wonder will they get the central message of Tor.com which is that only by loosening control and offering something that the community values will you progress in the digitally shifted world?

Who knows, it will sure be interesting to see how it develops!
Eoin