I have been waiting and waiting and waiting and waiting for Alyson Books to release the book Notes from the Sexual Underground, 1935-1975: The Selected Writings of Sam Steward (The Renegade Author Also Known as Phil Andros) by Justin Spring. At first it was due out in February and then June and now it appears that it will never be released by Alyson Books.
Reposted from Band of Thebes blog: http://bandofthebes.typepad.com
Publishers Weekly is reporting today that the nation’s oldest lgbt book publisher, Alyson, will restructure as an e-book only publisher and Don Weise is leaving the company. The announcement may surprise bookwatchers who’ve noted Alyson has never before produced an e-book. They expect to release their first digital titles in 9 to 12 months. John Knoebel, v-p of consumer marketing at Here Media, has been named temporary publisher until a replacement can be found. Discussing the decision to abandon print entirely, Knoebel said, “There are just fewer places to sell books.”
“Over the next few days Alyson will be reaching out to the authors it has under contract and whose books they have not published to give them the option of getting their rights back or moving ahead with Alyson’s digital program. “We know authors are working in different circumstances,” Knoebel said. “We hope some will stick with us.” Alyson has about 24 authors under contract whose books have not yet been released.”
Alyson’s front list has been dormant for more than half a year, not having released any of their scheduled titles since late winter. Weise had spent the interim months trying to acquire the company from Here Media but ultimately the two sides failed to reach a deal. Weise released a statement calling the situation “heartbreaking,” adding “even after offering a price that I believe to be twice the fair market value, we were unable to come to an agreement.”
This makes me incredibly sad. Another publisher of queer books will no longer be publishing actual books. As the publishing industry changes and collapses at the same time, I wonder how authors will continue to promote their books if there is no physical book to sell at readings.
There is some good news (for me at least). Justin Spring had this to say on Amazon.com about his book:
“This book is not being published by Alyson, and never will be – as the editor of this book I’d like to let potential buyers know that a book of collected Sam Steward writings will be self-published via LighteningSource later this fall.
Alyson never issued a satisfactory contract for the book, and yet it continues to list it as an available title – which has created a great deal of confusion on the internet about the book’s availability. None of my emails about the situation to Amazon have been successful so far, so I’m simply posting this message for the public good.”
You didn’t hear it here first, but I wanted to pass the word on.