Robert J. Sawyer

Hugo and Nebula Award-Winning Science Fiction Writer

Easton Press cancels “Signed First Editions of Science Fiction”

by Rob - December 22nd, 2010.
Filed under: Publishing.

Another indication of the sad state of publishing: The Easton Press is canceling its long-running Signed First Editions of Science Fiction series, a collection of leather-bound volumes signed by the authors.

They’d done my Illegal Alien — which had been my last title in the 1990s for Ace — and, as soon as I moved back to Ace in 2009, they did editions of Wake and Watch.

Tor — who I’d been with for the intervening eight books — had always been reluctant to do business with this line (wanting their own editions to be perceived of as the true firsts). That was irritating, since Easton paid the author $3 a signature, and usually required about a thousand autographs per book — about $24,000 if Easton had picked up all eight of my intervening Tor titles; they also paid the publisher a nice fee for the rights to produce their edition, 50% of which was credited to the author’s royalty account with the publisher.

As soon as I moved back to Ace, the Easton Press was doing me in that line again, and the editions were gorgeous.

But now it’s over. I’ve just confirmed with their customer-service department: they are doing one final book (Moonworld by Howard Waldrop), then that’s it.

I’m sad for all kinds of reasons, not the least of which is that there’ll never be a matching leather-bound edition of Wonder, the final volume in my WWW trilogy, which is coming out at the end of March.

Robert J. Sawyer online:

3 Responses to Easton Press cancels “Signed First Editions of Science Fiction”

  1. Happy New Year Rob, despite the sad news.

    As far as this decision goes, it is indeed sad not to see the entire WWW trilogy treated this way. Fact is, however, that printed books are becoming extinct sooner or later. At the moment we are at the stage where electronic readers (Kindle, etc.) are becoming serious contenders with printed volumes. Considering how the world is becoming bland, uniformized and excessively politically correct, perhaps producing a paper book will be downright forbidden fifty years from now.

    Nevertheless, the decision to cancel the series is most likely the result of business considerations, i.e. records showing diminishing interest and sales. Which, in a way, is an indication of future trends.

    Personally, I seriously hope the world fifty years from now will not see too many new printed books. Hopefully for all the right reasons. Which, unfortunately, cannot be guaranteed. Visions of virtual reality surrounding us, indistinguishable from actual reality, are intriguing, perhaps not even far-fetched. I dare to say such marvels could even be here by now, if trillions of dollars were not spent on brutish hardware resulting from selfish tribalistic mentality, but on research for the good of all mankind.

    Thank you for your books, they are all wonderful.

  2. The WWW books have been a joy to read and I hope that Easton Press will consider doing WWW:Wonder as a separate special signed edition for those of us who already have the first two books.

    For those who have not purchased the first two books, then perhaps a 3 volume set with one of the books signed could be offered to the science fiction public. If everyone reading this would voice their opinions, maybe this could happen. There is power in numbers, and you could be the one to make the difference.

  3. I already expressed this to them.

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