Today, Delirium, one of the best small publishing companies specializing in horror, announced that they will replacing their trade paperback line with digital editions.

Delirium’s trade paperback and book club will end this month with the final featured title: David Jack Bell’s The Girl In The Woods. My focus has shifted significantly over the past few years and digital editions will replace the trade paperback line in Delirium’s production schedule.

This will no doubt become a hot topic, but I’ve come to the conclusion over the past few years that the digital medium is a necessary step for the survival of not only the genre in literature, but the entire book industry.

The only thing I can say at this point is this: it’s no longer become a matter of whether you like or dislike the digital medium; it’s the point that the business of publishing needs to change in order for it to survive. The money-makers for each physical book that is produced sadly barely include the two essential components which is the author and publisher. The money that changes hands profits printers, book binders, distributors and shipping carriers, which is great, if it weren’t for the fact that what little is left (a very small pittance) falls into the hands of the true artist and those that work hard to bring their book to a broader readership.

The digital format has the ability to change all of this, to even the playing field, to compensate justly the starving artist and independent entrepreneur instead of the bloated corporation. It also allows readers to purchase new works of fiction for much cheaper than limited editions, trade paperbacks and even mass market paperbacks in some cases.

I’ve always been one to do things my way and carve my own path and it’s time to start a new direction.

Don’t get me wrong: I love the physical book as well, and plan to continue to produce limited edition hardcovers for collectors, but I feel the time has come for change, to focus on digital.

Delirium’s amended publication schedule will be posted in the coming weeks.  Instead of monthly, Delirium will take on an irregular production schedule of primarily digital releases with some limited edition hardcover releases in the mix.

Another major reason for the reduced production schedule is my involvement with Horror Mall.  This company has really become a force in the past year and I feel it is essential to the growth of the genre at the independent level.  It is a company that is at the forefront of helping many authors, artists, publishers and movie studios.  And starting this month it has become my full time job. My goal when I founded Horror Mall in 2007 was to make it the gateway to independent horror and it is well on its way. With more of my focus on Horror Mall, I will be able to promote digital titles not only from my own press, but from others as well. And not just digital, but the fine limited edition publishers that are in business.  And Horror Mall will be there to support other entrepreneurs, artists and many others in our genre.

(Story Link)

As a proud Sony 505 owner, I can only say this pleases me. Is it going to piss off some people? I’m sure it will, especially those without some sort of reader. But, let’s face it, digital books are a thing of the future, like it or not, and if Delirium jumps on now to both save money so they will be around in the future as well as embrace the new technology, I can only say kudos to them.

Admittedly, I do feel for those who do not have an ebook reader of some sort, but the selfish part of me would rather see Delirium — and other independent book sellers — stay in business, and if this is the way to go, it’s time for people to throw down money for the technology of the future. For those of us who already have readers, this is win/win/win. It will be even easier for us to get the newest books from lesser known authors, it will be cheaper and it will be in our hands much faster. Hot damn this is good news, indeed.

Smart move, Delirium. I’m quite sure I won’t be your only huge supporter in this, and I look forward to purchasing even more titles from you.

  • http://WhatJamesKnows.com JamesFerguson

    I understand where they're coming from, but as a non e-book reader I guess I'm a little annoyed that they're doing away with their printed stuff altogether (and I've never even heard of the company.) I'm just concerned that other companies will follow suit. I can see offering both at the same time, but to make such a huge jump is a big deal.

    Do you think Hard Case Crime would do such a thing?

  • http://www.alienredrum.com Stewie

    I think at this point, for Delirium at least, it sounds as if they either go this way or they release less books. If they need to do it to survive — or introduce us to more authors — I'm all for it.

    Would HCC do it? I don't know. In this economy, I couldn't say for certain if they would or not. I would venture no, though, as Dorchester Publications (which HCC falls under) has a pretty big catalog, so I don't see the need for it.

    It wouldn't surprise me at all, however, if they started offering digital downloads in the near future.

    I'd still remain in the HCC club, though. I love those covers.

  • http://acerimrat.blogspot.com/ Ace

    I have mixed feelings on this one. Not because of the whole e-reader thing, I don't have one. But there's the collector side of me that likes buying the LEs because they aren't just your ordinary book (including special features and stuff; I may sell someday, but that's not why I buy), and there's the reader/writer side of me, that agrees with Stewie that this has the potential to put more good books into more people's hands.

  • http://www.alienredrum.com Stewie

    According to the article, the LE line isn't changing, so you have nothing to worry about. :)

  • http://acerimrat.blogspot.com/ Ace

    Yeah, I know. But I assume they'll eventually produce less.

    And also, the e-book exclusives not only mean the end of some TPBs, but probably decrease the chances of authors' work becoming LEs, if you know what I mean.

    Like, I can't quite say it how I mean, but it seems like on the downside, you have to really be good or established to get an LE now, otherwise you get relegated to the e-book and not get the chance for an in-depth treatment. But, on the upside, a book that might have been rejected entirely now might get an e-book.

  • http://www.alienredrum.com Stewie

    Ace, for some reason your comment didn't come to the page again, but the Delirium founder posted a pretty good follow up to the original news here:

    http://www.deliriumbooks.com/site_news/focusing

    I see no reason to worry about Limited Editions at this point, especially when the founder of the company is saying as much.

  • http://acerimrat.blogspot.com/ Ace

    Weird.

    Like I was trying to say, it's not the limited editions as current that I'm worried about in any way.

    It's more like I wonder if a book that might have been a limited edition with extra features, etc., will now be relegated to a basic e-book. Like a Special Edition DVD vs. a bare-bones one, for lack of a better comparison offhand.

    I'm weighing that against my interest in seeing new authors published (which DB says this will help), and yet a concern that new authors who might have earned an LE by virtue of their writing will lose out and be “relegated” to an e-book because they lack the name or reputation for sales power in this new way of life.

    I'm sure it was a difficult decision for Shane and his crew.

  • http://www.alienredrum.com Stewie

    Ace, odd, again it didn't appear. I added your email to the 'white list' to see if this helps. For some reason, Disqus is seeing your comments as spam, methinks.

    Anyway, for those reading along, here's what Ace wrote:

    “Weird.

    Like I was trying to say, it's not the limited editions as current that I'm worried about in any way.

    It's more like I wonder if a book that might have been a limited edition with extra features, etc., will now be relegated to a basic e-book. Like a Special Edition DVD vs. a bare-bones one, for lack of a better comparison offhand.

    I'm weighing that against my interest in seeing new authors published (which DB says this will help), and yet a concern that new authors who might have earned an LE by virtue of their writing will lose out and be “relegated” to an e-book because they lack the name or reputation for sales power in this new way of life.

    I'm sure it was a difficult decision for Shane and his crew.”

    Okay, gotcha. I don't know. I think of it more that it may very well open the door wider for limited editions.

    Shane is going to save money by going digital, thus allowing more money to maybe introduce more new authors, or more LEs from the established authors. (Or, in your analogy, more special editions).

    I wish I hadn't deleted it, but in one of my emails from Delirium, it was mentioned how well “The Girl in the Woods” digital edition sold (I think it blew out 100 copies real quick), and that's such a fantastic sign.

    I really believe ebook readers are the way of the future, and I have to be honest, before I bought one I wouldn't have thought it. But now that I own one, yeah, this is the future.