This is sort of a cheat. Project Gutenberg might be more like a book seller than a publisher, but with the difference that they give the books away for free. The big twist is that all the books are out of copyright. This means that it varies from country to country because copyright law is still the sensible renew after 25 years (eg Australia) in some countries and the ridiculous “the publishers get to keep the money forever especially if the author has no heirs” 50 to 75 years after author’s death in other countries. You would think as a writer I would be pleased at the long copyright spans, but no it seems to be a corporate greed measure as opposed to anything to do with the helping writers (many of whom, like starving musicians, sign away all their rights, but that’s a discussion for another day)
Anyway, the range of books available at Project Gutenberg is staggering, ranging from the first Georgette Heyer book (recently out of copyright everywhere) some of the vigorously (and dubiously) defended works of James Joyce (who went back into copyright retrospectively in what seems like a ground breaking legal precedent without precedent) all the way back to the works of the ancient Greeks.
If you are not technically minded, getting the books onto you Kindle, Kobo or whatever reader might be a bit of a challenge, but you can have a look at the HTML versions to start with and get a knowledgeable person to help if you like what you see.
Well worth a browse if you like older books, some of which have aged very well. For discussion of some, see my next post!
Writers we like – an occasional series about authors and books that made a big impression on our own authors. First up, Dennis Drayton on The Stone Leopard:
Colin Forbes was a very prolific author and was at the height of his powers all through the 1970’s. I never cared for his later Tweed books, but from when I discovered “Tramp in Armour” through to “Avalanche Express” I ate them up.
The Stone Leopard blew me away when I read it as a teenager, in retrospect a few parts felt interchangeable with seventies Wilbur Smith or Jack Higgins books (all three may have shared editors and publishers) — but over-all it was a fascinating near-future, parallel history sort of book with lots of Cold War paranoia, what felt like an authentic French setting, with lots of chases and shoot-outs and a compelling central mystery (who is the traitor at the highest level of the French government?) which kept the story rattling along at breakneck speed. It is probably very dated now, but for its time and up to the mid-1990s it stood up very well.
An occasional series – our writers are of the opinion that most people don’t really notice the publishers of books and indeed not even the authors’ names until somebody has been doing a big series for a long time, but some should stick in the mind:
1. Tor Books http://www.tor.com/
are amazing, they publish many of the biggest names in sci-fi and fantasy, and their website is a joy and a place to get lost in, so beware 🙂
The Adversary by Dennis Drayton published on Kobo May 10, 2015
Every Six Feet by Christopher Nugent published on Amazon Kindle
on August 12, 2014