Gollancz opens sci-fi Gateway to e-books

Thousands of out of print science-fiction titles will be available digitally, after Gollancz launched the world's largest science-fiction and fantasy library, the SF Gateway.

The gateway will launch in September with more than 1,000 titles available by almost 100 authors. Launch authors include the likes of Marion Zimmer Bradley, Philip K Dick, Frank Herbert and Arthur C Clarke. Gollancz will build the list to 3,000 titles by the end of 2012 and 5,000 or more by 2014. The books will be available through all major e-retailers but pricing has yet to be determined.

Gollancz digital publisher Darren Nash, who will be in charge of the project, said: "The Masterworks series has been extraordinarily successful in republishing one or two key titles by a wide range of authors, but most of those authors had long careers in which they wrote dozens of novels which had fallen out of print. It seemed to us that e-books would offer the ideal way to make them available again. This realisation was the starting point for the SF Gateway."

The gateway will be integrated with the online Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, which Gollancz announced earlier this month. There will be direct links from the encyclopedia to the gateway site. The gateway site will also feature forums, blogs and promotions.

Orion deputy c.e.o. and publisher Malcolm Edwards, who conceived the project, said: "It’s clear that publishers need to show that they can respond to the challenges and opportunities of the digital revolution imaginatively, particularly when it comes to backlist. The SF Gateway is just such a response, creating what we hope will become a destination website which will promote the books and authors it features in an active way.  We hope it will not only be a success in its own right, but that it will provide a model for future developments in backlist publishing.”

Gollancz said it was in advanced negotiations with authors about future titles. The gateway is part of the 50th anniversary of Gollancz's science fiction list.

Double Arthur C Clarke award-wnner Pat Cadigan said: "This is exactly what I've been hoping for now that the digital book is becoming more widespread. I have always said that the e-book will not be the death of the physical book—the e-book will save so many wonderful books from being lost.

"We have to remember that what we read is the book—what we read it on, whether ink and paper or pixels on a screen, is just the interface. I'm honestly thrilled about this new project and delighted to be on the list.”