The official release from Angry Robot Books:
On December 1st 2010, Angry Robot will be launching “Nano Editions”. Exclusive to the publisher’s own webstore at angryrobotstore.com, Nanos are digital short stories by Angry Robot novelists, sold at sensible prices in ePub format, ready to load onto the world’s most popular eBook readers.
Most Nanos will be in the 5,000 – 15,000 word range. Shorter works than that will be automatically bundled with another story to ensure value for money.
Talking of which – stories will cost just 59p each (approximately US $0.95). Readers can bundle a collection of any 10 by any combination of authors, for only £3.49 (US$5.59). The files will be DRM-free and available worldwide. If demand for the stories takes off, AR plan to also sell them via eBook retailers.
Angry Robot Editor Lee Harris said, “Publishing is changing, but our role as publishers remains the same – to find cool stories and bring them to readers. This is another step in Angry Robot’s ongoing plan to embrace the new opportunities digital formats provide – and an excellent way for readers to sample unfamiliar authors, without breaking the bank.”
Authors included in the Nanos series include multi-million-selling novelist Dan Abnett and award-winning short fiction authors Kaaron Warren and Aliette de Bodard, along with many others. We will have at least 30 Nanos available for the December 1st launch, with more added at regular intervals.
I’m a huge supporter of eBooks and eReaders being a necessary tool in allowing short fiction to not only sustain itself, but actually grow its audience. There’s an endless supply of great short fiction available on the Internet and eReaders have finally made those stories readable in a comfortable format—no more sitting in front of the computer monitor to enjoy the latest edition of Clarkesworld or Beneath Ceaseless Skies, I can now read them from the comfortable, soothing suds of my bubble bath.
So it’s nice to see more publishers getting on board with digitally distributed short fiction. It’s a bit of a shame that, like Orbit Books, Angry Robot Books is opening the platform only to authors already in their library (as opposed to Tor.com, who is open to submissions from all authors), but it’s a start. Selling them for a fee (even a small fee) is also a concerning given how many publications provide their fiction for free on their websites. Still, the writers of these stories deserve to be paid, and, no doubt, they won’t be supported by ads, sponsors or donations like many of those websites that offer free fiction. I do like the idea of a make-your-own-anthology style bundle and hopefully the small cost means we’ll see eBooks created with proper care and attention to aesthetics, something still lacking in much of the ePublishing world.