Angry Robot Shuts Down YA & Crime Fiction Imprints

Strange ChemistryI was saddened to hear that Angry Robot Books will be shutting down their Young Adult (Strange Chemistry) and  Crime Fiction (Exhibit A) imprints.

Angry Robot is probably one of the boldest, most innovative publishers releasing titles in SFF today and I’ve always loved how they ensure they and their authors engage with bloggers and the public too. If you see ‘Angry Robot’ on the cover of a book you can pretty much guarantee yourself an enjoyable read and very often a memorable one. I think this is because the Editors, Marc Gasgoine and Lee Harris, really do know the market. They are real fantasy fans, they attend every convention they can, interact with fans on a daily basis and so are able to ‘keep their finger on the pulse. I have also appreciated their taking chances on hit or miss books that the larger publishers haven’t had the bottle to as well.

Angry Robot BooksThe problem, that Angry Robot themselves list, is overwhelming saturation within those two genres (YA & Crime Fiction). Angry Robot came into Fantasy & Science Fiction at the right time – they have seen the genres grow and grow. Young Adult might be growing in volume of sales, but young readers tend to have a few favourite series within that genre before moving on to more challenging titles (such as Tolkien, Hobb, Canavan, etc). Taking a shot at a Young Adult only label was brave and typical of Angry Robot – who take chances (usually successfully) on most things – but it seems it wasn’t to be. The sad part about all this is that the imprint actually placed well in – and even took – some fairly high profile awards Laura Lam’s titles under the imprint were particularly impressive, for example. As for Crime Fiction: well, you only need to look at the Asda/Wal Mart shelves to know just how competitive that genre is. And, again, sadly people who enjoy those genres tend to have their favourite authors too.

The good news is that Angry Robot as a label is still going strong. In fact, they tell us that “we plan to increase our output from 2 books a month, to 3. We have no plans to cancel any titles other than those of Strange Chemistry and Exhibit A.” This will keep fans of Fantasy-Faction’s friends Wesley Chu, Guy Haley, Kameron Hurley, Anne Lyle, Emma Newman (and many more!) very happy.

Here is Angry Robot’s full publication list for 2014:



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8 thoughts on “Angry Robot Shuts Down YA & Crime Fiction Imprints”
  1. Sad Quotes over on the Book Seller website:

    Author Kim Curran’s book Delete, the third title in her Shifter series, was due to be published by Strange Chemistry. She told The Bookseller: “I’m shocked and devastated to learn that Delete – the last in my Shifter series – won’t be published by Strange Chemistry in August as planned. I hope I will find another way to get the book out to all my readers who’ve been so supportive over the years. And my heart goes out to everyone affected by the closure.”

    Joseph Knobbs, crime fiction buyer at Waterstones, said it was “always” a shame when an imprint closed “because publishing is more than just a commercial venture.” He added: “I think it is to Angry Robot’s credit that they tried these lists, but also to their credit that they can admit when something hasn’t met their expectations. Our sales of their titles were modest, but there was certainly some bookseller support out there. I think, perhaps, the imprints hadn’t existed long enough to quite forge their own identities. I can imagine there are some disappointed authors out there and that is a shame.”

  2. Just been told over Twitter perhaps Angry Robot will be going up for sale too. Not sure what to think of this news, I guess as long as the head people stay the head people then it won’t make too much difference. Marc and Lee (top dogs) have been kicking arse over there for quite some time:

    The chairman of the Osprey Group has confirmed the company is undergoing a “strategic review”, which may include the potential sale of “any part of the business”.

    The news of a strategic review follows the announcement earlier today (20th June) that Osprey’s sci fi arm Angry Robot has closed two of its imprints, Exhibit A and Strange Chemistry, with immediate effect.

    Robin Black, chairman of the Osprey Group, said: “We are undergoing a strategic review internally following Rebecca leaving, and included in that is the potential sale of any part of the business”.

    Publishers Lunch has reported that while Angry Robot is profitable, it is being “quietly” offered up for sale to competitors, with many options being considered for Osprey, such as consolidation, streamlining a number of business divisions, a sale of individual imprints or a sale of the whole company.
    In an internal memo sent to staff, Osprey told employees that large publishing houses had shown interest in buying the company, which was “a testament to how well Osprey is perceived in the wider market, and your work and efforts over the years.”

  3. Why can’t I have nice things? I just read Laura Lam’s Pantomime and start to love her writing and now the third one might never be out.
    Sad to see another publisher gone.

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