This week a couple Macmillan projects are finally coming to light. I say “finally,” because it’s been hard to keep mum about them before launch. I’ll write tomorrow about all the crazy stuff FSG is doing for Nick Cave’s The Death of Bunny Munro; right now I want to point out something that seems small, but is quite amazing.
You may have read about Tor.com’s new book “Year’s Best Fantasy 9” on Boing Boing or io9; they cover the book release from the reader perspective. What shouldn’t be overlooked is the publisher’s perspective. Tor.com started as a distinct entity separate from the science fiction and fantasy publisher Tor, and as its own autonomous entity here at Macmillan. Pablo Defendini’s role as head of Tor.com is one of webmaster, editor, manager, and impresario. The site publishes commissioned short fiction and reviews books across the industry. They even – gasp! – give bad reviews to Tor-Forge books. All for the simple reason that this is what readers want and expect.
To that end, now the website is publishing their first book. As print on demand.
No big book deal, no author advances, no wasted returns from booksellers. If the audience is interested, the books will be printed. Simple, clean, environmentally friendly, and damn smart. Oh, and they’re doing it from their own e-commerce setup, so the whole thing is entirely vertical.