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Life, Law & Libros

Discussion: When Publishers Go Under

10 comments
Angry Robot Books put out a press release Friday: they are shutting down their YA and crime/mystery imprints, Strange Chemistry and Exhibit A. Strange Chemistry launched in September 2012, and I've read four of their books.


It was strange seeing the news Friday, almost surreal. Just the night before I was at Barnes & Noble, noting several of their titles on the YA New Release shelves. I know it's not the first imprint/publisher to be discontinued, not by a long shot; but it is, I think, the first time I've seen it happen to a novel imprint I'm familiar with. Back in high school, when I was reading a ton of manga, I remember seeing at least three different manga publishers go under. Other publishers continued or reprinted and finished some of the resulting canceled series. Some fell into limbo and were only available on *cough not quite legal* fan translated scan sites.

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At least one of the Strange Chemistry authors, Danielle L. Jensen, has posted a short note about the status of her series. I am curious about what will happen to hers and others' unfinished series, especially since publishers tend to buy entire series and I can't think of too many examples of publishers picking up series midway off the top of my head. I mean, the options have to be find another publisher or self-publish the rest or abandon it, right?

Does anyone recall a similar situation with series you were reading? What happened in that case?

10 comments :

  1. Hopefully they can get picked up but that would be really hard. I know it's happened to me on anime back in the day, can't remember any books it happening on.

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    1. I imagine it's hard to get picked up (again) mid-series since every publishing house has its own editing/marketing/art/publicity teams and may not want to build on someone else's foundation. Still, hoping for the best for all the authors mid-series. :)

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  2. I've never heard of something like this happening before, I'm sure it has, but I never paid attention to imprints before I started blogging and even then it wasn't until last year that I started having favorites ya know? I loved how bold Strange Chemistry always was, even if the books didn't always work perfectly for me. I'm definitely hoping to see these authors find new homes, I need to know what happens next!

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    1. Same here. I had a similar time of it with Strange Chemistry; I loved a lit of their concepts, but 3/4 times, the execution was wonky or lackluster.

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  3. Wow. What a bummer for those authors! I can't even imagine. I would hope the publishing company would help the authors find alternative outlets.

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    1. Yeah, I don't know what SOP is in this case. I assume there's a line in their contracts that addresses it. Here's hoping their sales did well enough here to garner interest from other publishers. :)

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  4. Nightshade going down all over again. And from there some of those authors didn't get picked back up, although whose choice that was isn't always clear. The Whitefire crossing series in particular is going to be finished through the self published way, though that one appears to be author choice.

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    1. Nightshade? I don't think I'm familiar with them, but it sounds like the authors had a rough time of it. I can only imagine the disappointment of getting that far down the line, seeing the first book published and then having the rug pulled out from under you. I guess the good news is authors have more options for self-publishing the rest than they used to. I guess we'll wait and see what happens here. Thanks for stopping by!

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  5. SO SAD ABOUT STRANGE CHEMISTRY :( I've been wanting to know what will happen to all of the unfinished series, like The Fifty-Seven Lives, or The Holders. I wish the imprint could be integrated into another Angry Robot imprint, or something! Or other publishing companies could pick up unfinished series. Alas, that is not how things work. Sadness!

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

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    1. The publishing nerd in me wonders at the more specific reasons behind the cutbacks; but it could be anything from lackluster sales (foreign or domestic) to increased distribution rates or overhead or need for liquid capital to invest in other areas. My guess is they had a few big sellers but they weren't enough to cover the less profitable "mid-list" titles. Regardless, nothing to do now but wait and see where things go. It looks like the best information sources for that are individual authors' blogs and/or Twitter accounts. I hope the series you liked find new life in some form!

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