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Gollancz To Launch World’s Largest Digital SFF Library

GollanczThere is no doubt about it, Gollancz is the UK’s leading publisher of fantasy fiction. Just a quick browse of the fantasy shelves in WH Smiths or Waterstones will reveal an abundance of G’s standing proudly upon the book’s spines.

I have to say that I am a massive fan of Gollancz’s titles. They really seem to have stepped out into the forefront of our genre and picked up as much new stuff as they possibly could. I mean you have the obviously popular titles like Lies of Locke Lamora, The Name of the Wind, Sanderson’s The Way of Kings and Charlaine Harris’s True Blood series for sure, but some of the authors they have picked up and have more recently come to the forefront like; Joe Abercrombie, M D Lachlan and Pierre Pevel have really had them stand out these past few years.

With their success has come a number of new projects. We have seen Gollancz Dark Fantasy, Gollancz’s Fantasy Masterworks and a few weeks back they announced the free Encyclopedia of Science Fiction. Well, now is perhaps the most exciting announcement to date for the real fans of fantasy and science fiction literature.

The press release said it all really: “GOLLANCZ TO LAUNCH THE WORLD’S LARGEST DIGITAL SFF LIBRARY”. Launching with 1000 titles by over 100 authors this autumn, Gollancz will quickly build their database to over 3,000 titles by the end of 2012, and 5,000 or more by 2014.


Now, I have to tell you guys that I’m excited because that is a crazy, crazy figure. If you read one book a week it would take you over 96 years to read them all. So, Gollancz is effectively supplying you with a life time’s worth of science fiction and fantasy literature. What could be more exciting than that?

The press release went on to tell us the reasons behind the launch of this project. Digital publisher Darren Nash says, “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 eBooks would offer the ideal way to make them available again. This realization was the starting point for the SF Gateway.”

I think this is a fantastic idea. A few times I have read novels in the Masterwork series and enjoyed them tremendously. I have then gone onto Amazon to look for other titles by the author and they are all out of production and only available in rather shabby paperbacks that have been read about twenty times. Effectively, I will now be able to sit at home, research a bit about the authors I like, load up my ereader and download a title from what is confirmed to be the largest digital SFF library in the world.

We are yet to see how everything will work, but what sounds like quite a good idea is that it will be linked with The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction that we mentioned earlier. The content will soon be available on www.sf-encyclopedia.com and is completely free to use. Even more impressive figures are that it contains 3 million words across around 12,000 entries and more than 100,000 internal links. The entries range from science fiction, including authors and illustrators, through to movies, music, games and fanzines.

As a community ourselves here at Fantasy-Faction we loved the following paragraph:

“The Gateway site will also act as a major community hub and social network for SF readers across the world, allowing them to interact with each other and recommend titles and authors. The site is planned to include forums, blogs, regular promotions, and is envisaged to become the natural home on the net for anyone with an interest in classic SFF.”

The fact that these books are ebooks is a big statement. I believe ebook sales are increasing and Amazon US have recently said that in May they sold 105 ebooks for every 100 print books, with Amazon UK saying that 242 ebooks are sold for every 100 hardbacks. Waterstone’s also revealed that ebooks were outselling hardbacks by four to one. Ebooks are certainly the way forward and with incentives like this I am sure more and more people will be dashing out to buy ereaders and enjoying this technological advance.

Authors will include: Marion Zimmer Bradley, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Arthur C. Clarke, Philip K. Dick, Frank Herbert, Alice B. Sheldon (James Tiptree, Jr), Robert Silverberg, Kate Wilhelm and Connie Willis. These are some of the most important authors of years gone by and without them fantasy/science-fiction literature would not be what it is today. This is our chance as a community to rediscover the books that have built our genre and I’m excited about the steps forward that Gollancz are making.

To finish this article off, we’d love to know what you think about ebooks and how many of you are out there using e-readers. If you can take two seconds to leave a comment, we’d love to hear your thoughts!



  1. Avatar Tim C Taylor says:

    I thought the Masterworks series was the best that old technology could do to allow me to read the classics. Now this e-book gateway will explode with new possibilities. It’s what e-books have been building up to for a decade.

    I for one am waiting to plunder Ian Watson’s backlist. I talked with Ian about this over sushi last week (the Aroma in Northampton is very good) and he told me Gollanz wanted everything, including shorts and novellas. Ian’s short fiction has been collected many times, but I wonder whether Gollanz will publish this in collected lumps or some, perhaps the novellas, as single titles?

  2. Avatar Hannah says:

    Wow, this is massive and fantastic!

    I personally can’t afford an e-reader yet, though if anybody has a spare Kindle..? 😉 But I am hoping to get one around Christmas time. I would still want to buy books, it’s just difficult to find print copies of some books these days, and often, certain books are cheaper as an ebook than paperback.

  3. Avatar Ken says:

    Great news. Next step is a digital library for Fantasy fiction!

  4. […] aim is to build up up a collection of up to 3000 ebooks by the end of next year and 5000 by 2014.  As Marc Aplin at Fantasy Faction points out: ‘If you read one book a week…it would take you over 96 years to read them all. So, Gollancz […]

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