Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Planet Stories Continues to Impress

I just received Robots Have No Tails, the first volume in Paizo's revamped Planet Stories line. I've only barely begun reading the five short stories included in the book, so I can't say much about them -- though, being Henry Kuttner efforts, I have little doubt that I'll enjoy them greatly. However, I can say that I am absolutely in love with the new format of the series. The books are slightly larger and thinner now, with a two-column layout that recalls the pulp magazines in which these stories appeared. So does the paper, for that matter, which, though sturdy, reminds me of old-fashioned magazines, as do the illustrations that begin each tale.

All in all, I think the changes are ones of which I greatly approve. They give Planet Stories a "pulpier" feel that I think better suits their subject matter than the trade paperback format of the earlier volumes. I have already found Robots Have No Tails much more readable and portable than its predecessors, which is terrific, as Planet Stories is what I read while on the subway or in the backseat of a car. It's a pity the series has gone bimonthly and I hope that's not because of poor sales. Planet Stories is a remarkable line of books and I'd hate to see it come to an end anytime soon. People are finally starting to give the pioneers of genre fiction their due, so we need Planet Stories more than ever.

4 comments:

  1. Very interesting. I've got a half-dozen of the older books, and while I like the old format just fine (I'm a big fan of trade paperbacks), I'll have to check out the newer format.

    Question - are they re-formatting all new print runs of the older books, or are they staying in their original formats? I've got a couple of series that I need to finish collecting.

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  2. I don't believe they're reformatting the older volumes, at least not in the short term.

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  3. Thanks for the support, James! I'm thrilled that you're enjoying the new layout.

    We will not be reprinting the older books in this format (unless they sell out their initial print run), but we did recently change subscriptions so that subscribers receive not just a 30% discount off the retail price of new volumes, but a 15% discount off older volumes as well!

    We shifted the line to bi-monthly not because of poor sales, but because we were concerned that we were cranking them out faster than people could read them. I know it's strange to subscribe to a book series, but Planet Stories subscriptions are FAR lower than any of our other (gaming) subscription lines. I'm happy to let it grow, but in the meantime I want to remove any impediments to retaining existing subscribers and gaining new ones, and a slower frequency is one way to do that.

    It also gives us more time to properly market the books and make sure they find the audience they deserve.

    James, your help in spreading the word here on Grognardia has been invaluable in this regard, and I sincerely thank you for it.

    --Erik Mona
    Publisher
    Paizo Publishing

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  4. Glad to hear that Planet Stories is doing well and that Paizo remains committed to letting it grow at its own pace. I really do think this is the kind of product line that'll take several years before it "finds its audience" and I'm happy that Paizo isn't expecting it to be an instant best seller. I plan on remaining a subscriber and promoting it for as long as it is produced, which I hope is a very long time.

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