Help us rescue unique, out-of-print sci-fi books from copyright limbo so that we can make them available online and as ebooks.
We love books. A lot. And we love sci-fi books, new and old. But mostly old.
We’ve seen too many sci-fi books that are out of print, out of circulation, and, worst of all (given the subject matter) unavailable in any digital format. Meaning, as of now, these books may never be seen in the future imagined in their pages. That’s just not right.
So here’s what we’re going to do: Each month we’ll choose one great classic, obscure or otherwise fascinating sci-fi book that’s no longer in print and not available online, track down the copyright holder and/or author (if they’re still around), acquire or otherwise clear the copyright, and publish the title both online and as an e-book, for little or no cost. Our supporters and followers will help us choose which books will be digitally rescued from copyright and publishing limbo via a monthly poll on our website, and we'll share the story behind the story, including with each ebook what we learned about the book, the author and their history along the way.
And while Singularity & Co. promises to keep our mission alive, in perpetuity, throughout the universe, we need your support to get started. This Kickstarter campaign will allow us to rescue our first four neglected works by providing for the following:
* Acquiring and curating the treasures to be found among many, many paper copies of old, out of print sci-fi books
* Expanding our current website to allow us to display and deliver our sci-fi library - physically as well as electronically - and support voting capabilities for fans to help decide the next titles to be rescued
* Building an open source book scanner (see http://www.diybookscanner.org/ for an example) to aid in turning forgotten paper books into e-books
* Covering costs associated with tracking down rightsholders, authors and/or their estates, as well as clearing or acquiring the electronic publishing rights to our orphaned books
* Spreading the word not only to established fans but also potential supporters who love great books and ideas (may include attending conventions, creating t-shirts, prints and anything else we can think of)
* Covering costs associated with legal work to be done by our attorneys, all of whom are generously contributing their time pro bono (we’re trying to keep our costs as low as possible)
This is part adventure, part detective story, and part story about the intersection of the past and the future. So as we dig into a particular book, and pull on the various threads that we need to to make sure we can share it without taking something that isn't ours, we end uncovering the story of that book. That means that as part of each release, we plan on sharing that story, telling you what we learn about the book, it's author, it's history, and the adventure we had bringing it to you.
Rescuing beloved, forgotten, fondly remembered, out-of-print and otherwise lost sci-fi books by bringing them into the digital domain is more than a labor of love - it’s our way of celebrating visions of futures past that shaped the way we live now. And it’s all in a day’s work for your average, ordinary, time-traveling bookshop. Please help us bring the past and future together - Singularity loves company.
In a word, no. No DRM, not now, not ever. That's not to say that Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble and the rest will not impose their own DRM on copies distributed via their platforms, but members will always have access to DRM-free copies of their books.
Yes, we will happily send your material rewards overseas (although they might take a bit to get there). Please add $10 to your pledge amount and indicate the country you would like your reward sent to in the comments. We'll get your address when the project is funded and take care of the rest!
Turning old books into ebooks is relatively easy. Doing it in such a way that we respect copyright and the rights of the authors of the books that we love is the hard part, and that's why Singularity&Co. needs your help.
Some of the books that we ebookify will be "orphaned," with no current copyright holder. Even so, we're going to do our very best track down the authors (or their estates) and get their blessing.
Most of the books we attempt to rescue, however, will be in copyright but out of print. Some great books find themselves out of print because the demand for them just isn't there. Others are out of print because their publication rights have become muddled (to put it kindly) over the years, and some are just plain forgotten. These are exactly the books we aim to rescue.
There is a world of great sci fi titles that are effectively forgotten by fans of the genre, by publishers, and sometimes even by the authors who wrote them. Add to that the facts that the sci fi publishing houses of the past were not always the best at respecting their contratual obligations, that publishing contracts of the past often didn't contemplate the media of the future (ironic, right?), and that for a host of reasons authors often didn't understand their rights, or were not in a position to protect them, and you have what is in technical terms called a "mess."
Singularity&Co. is going to untangle that mess, sleuth out the rights and rights holders of these great, neglected works, and in doing so make it possible to bring them into the 21st century while at the same time respecting the rights of their authors. Even better, once we've got the methodology down, we're going to share it so that sci fi books are not the only ones that get rescued.
In short, yes. We are going to strive to make our books available on every major ebook distribution platform, and in every format we can. The goal is to make these books accessible. If there is some platform we are missing, all you have to do is ask and we'll do our very best to support it.
Once our funding is closed, we will send out a survey to all of our backers asking for the necessary contact info. All you need to do is fill in the information for the giftee instead of yourself. If you want more than one of anything, just pledge the right amount and let us know in the notes.