What is the SF Gateway?
The SF Gateway is an initiative of the Orion Publishing Group, home to the UK's oldest science fiction publisher, Gollancz.
As an imprint, SF Gateway is an eBook publisher of classic SF and Fantasy. It is a sister imprint to Gollancz that, as a rule, focuses on SF's past, while Gollancz looks to its future.
As a website, SF Gateway is part catalogue site, highlighting and promoting the thousands of eBooks the imprint publishes; it is part gateway (pardon the inevitable pun) to the online retailers from whom these eBooks can be bought; part social network for readers who wish to discuss and recommend authors and books with their fellow enthusiasts; and part commentary/blog site.
As an ethos, SF Gateway is the attempt by a company with tremendous respect for the history of the field to ensure that the great works of SF & Fantasy's heritage are not lost to the harsh economic realities of modern commercial print publishing.
Enter here ye all who dare
So no longer will we listen to industry commentators like Gary K Wolfe and Jonathan Strahan, whipping us into an excited frenzy over classical SF to find that the work they refer to is only available in out of print collections or in well stocked second hand stores.
At least that’s how I see it working eventually. The team at the Gateway have done a great job getting the titles ready, and they plan to add more over the coming months.
The inevitable price whine
All of the titles appear to be priced at the $8 – $12 mark dependant on supplier (Amazon is the cheapest). Which is on par, if not a little bit more than some new titles.
It’s enough to turn my purchase decision from a “its a bargain at that price” impulse buy to a “hmm, I’ll think about it”. This is not to say that I don’t think that’s a fair price to ask, considering the work that has to go into this project -despite what the eBook & 99c evangelists might say. But it means that commentators and SF community members will have to work that little bit harder to be heard through the white noise I fear eBook publishing has/will generate.
We are used to equating classic with inexpensive ie Penguin classics, of paying premium prices for the “new” and bargain prices for the old. But if Gollanz are true to their word, their mission, then we will see works that won’t have been accessible, even under the old paradigm.
Perhaps it’s worth it at that price?