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More Kindle books go live

In our desire to get you to buy as many big books as possible, but knowing that your bookshelves are likely groaning, we’re pleased to say that Loups-Garous is now available as a Kindle ebook, and Brave Story is live on Kindle as well. Stay tuned, iPad owners, we’ll get these two titles up for you in a little bit.

And yes, we are planning to roll out ebooks for the other major readers soon. It’ll just take a leeeetle bit more time. Thanks!

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Backlist Buying Guide!

I wasn’t going to do a holiday buying guide for our 2009 titles as they might be a bit more difficult to find on bookstore shelves, but because YOU demanded it (well, because a couple of people demanded it), here we are!

All You Need Is Kill
Who I Thought Would Like It: Fans of action-packed SF.
Who Actually Liked it the Most: Fans of action-packed SF…eventually. The common publishing wisdom in the United States is that 50,000-word novels don’t sell. Personally I think they do sell just fine, but are most often sold by being embedded in another 50,000-word novel that just happens to be about the same characters opening and closing doors, raising their eyebrows, discussing their hobbies (often hobbies shared by the author), sipping beverages, and having and then recounting ominous dreams. This book really picked up when the movie news hit. Of course, movie news doesn’t last forever, but it was in April of this year when a critical mass of readers finally found the book and then word-of-mouth took over. Even after the bump of the movie announcement, and a subsequent spike following the announcement that Doug Liman would be helming the picture, sales have remained strong. So, good!

The Lord of the Sands of Time
Who I Thought Would Like It: The manga crowd.
Who Actually Liked it the Most: Old-school SF fans. The folks who came of age reading the SF of the 1950s really dug this one. Perhaps it’s because many paperback novels from that era, and really, into the 1970s, were fairly short, but this audience didn’t mind another 50,000-word novel. Some actually explicitly declared missing exciting and plot-filled novels that could be read in a single sitting. They didn’t find Messenger O goofy, liked the time-travel and Many Worlds conceits, and found the whole thing rather rollicking!

Who I Thought Would Like It: I was afraid nobody would like it!
Who Actually Liked it the Most: Horror fans, thankfully. Two things need to be understood: a) generally speaking, horror doesn’t sell in the United States anymore unless “disguised” as thriller, or paranormal romance, or some other genre; and b) short story collections don’t sell in the US either. So putting out a horror short story collection was very risky—one can imagine the intersecting area of two small audiences as our total potential audience. Well, as it turns out, that intersection was big enough to buy some copies and hungry enough to snap up Otsuichi rather greedily. And ZOO was nominated for the Shirley Jackson Award. His follow-up, Summer, Fireworks, And My Corpse was also nominated for a prize—the Black Quill award. So if you want to see a third horror short story collection, you know what you need to do, right?

Usurper of the Sun
Who I Thought Would Like It: Hard SF fans.
Who Actually Liked it the Most: Correct! I was pleased to see Nojiri’s first contact novel reviewed in Locus, given a shout-out on National Geographic planetary science blog, and other places beloved of the nerd hardcore. Hard SF is always a little tricky—in recent years in the US it has become dominated by a sort of libertarian politics that one isn’t going to find in Japanese fiction—but it all worked out.

We did reissues of Battle Royale and Brave Story and those continued to sell extremely well to their young audiences. And then there was…

The Book of Heroes
Who I Thought Would Like It: Brave Story fans and creepy weirdos who like nineteenth century decadent fiction.
Who Actually Liked it the Most: Many but not all Brave Story fans. Many of Brave Story’s young readers were impressed with that book’s heft. It’s a real achievement for a kid to read an 820-page book. The Book of Heroes isn’t quite the epic Miyuki Miyabe’s other novel with us was, though those who discovered Miyabe through Brave Story and picked up her follow-up quite liked it and many of her new fans are still discovering it—it’s a good backlist seller. My little daydream of Robert W. Chambers fans discovering book—the “King in Yellow” was originally his idea—didn’t quite come true either, but we can’t have all our books for young girls read by middle-aged men, can we?

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Why, just in time for holiday shopping!

As long time Haikasorunauts know, we publish two books every other month. Yesterday was our launch day, so this morning I rushed out the local chain bookstore—I’ll be a bit coy and say only that the chain’s name begins with the letter “B”—to see if our new titles were out yet. Happily, they were!

Here’s Brave Story, conveniently placed face-out in the New Science Fiction/Fantasy section.

(Right next to Moorcock too. Sweet!)

And then, down in the front of the store, right when the customers walk in, I found copies of the new edition of Battle Royale: The Novel.

(Sharpies among you may have figured out that for some reason the book was placed in the New Nonfiction section of this particular store, perhaps as an underground guerrilla tactic of some sort. It was hilarious enough to see Battle Royale right next to an edition of President Reagan’s diaries that I didn’t bother alerting a clerk. But do keep an eye out!)

The public has spoken and we have answered! You wanted long, thick books for the holidays, and so we have unleashed two of them, just for you. These titles won’t fit in your stockings, but they will keep you occupied as the long winter nights drag on. Happy reading!

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Brave Story: Extended Mass

As many of you know, the first edition of Brave Story came out two years ago in hardback. If you own a copy you know the beefy tome takes up a lot of space on your bookshelf (and in your backpack). It’s one of those books that goes toe-to-toe with other doorstoppers like Harry Potter and the Deadly Hallows and Stephen King’s Under the Dome.

Next Tuesday Miyuki Miyabe’s award-winning novel gets downsized into a handy Haikasoru paperback edition. “Downsized” might be the wrong word, however. The trim size remains the same, and none of the text has been clipped. We even kept the helpful map of Vision at the beginning of the book. But the new edition is definitely thinner and easier to cart around. You won’t suffer any discomfort hefting this book from place to place. And that’s good news for me.

Since I live in San Francisco and take public transportation everywhere I go, I’m a big fan of “pocket” books. Gigantic hardback novels can be nice ornamental items sitting in your living room, but they’re not convenient on a crowded bus. I much prefer a book I can shove in my jacket pocket and whip out when an opportunity for reading arises. Long live mass market paperbacks, that’s what I say. Or, in the case of Brave Story, long live extended mass market paperbacks.

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