September 10th, 2010 by Mike Fulton
Posted in Authors

Isaac Asimov was one of the most prolific authors of the 20th century. During his career, he wrote or edited over 500 books. While he wrote more non-fiction, his greatest fame was as a science-fiction writer, and along with Robert A. Heinlein and Arthur C. Clarke, he’s considered by many to be one of the top three Sci-Fi writers of all time. Even if you’ve never read any of his books, chances are good that you’ve seen one of the movies adapted from his stories, like I, Robot or Bicentennial Man.

Asimov’s science-fiction output included 38 science fiction novels and 20 short story collections. And yet, the Amazon Kindle store lists just 10 books of his fiction available for download to their popular eBook reader. There are 9 science fiction novels and one of his short story collections. None of his mysteries are available. A grand total of 7 books of non-fiction are also available, along with a smattering of essay collections where he’s one author out of many.

The situation is pretty much exactly the same at the Barnes & Noble eBook store. And at the Apple iBooks store.

To make matters worse, half of those those 10 books of fiction have a price for the eBook that’s actually higher than the price of the mass-market paperback that’s been available for decades. Let’s hear it for the brain trust at Macmillan who is responsible for that idea!

Why isn’t there more of this Grand Master’s work available in eBook format? Where are Caves of Steel, The Naked Sun, or Robots of Dawn? What about the Lucky Starr or Norby the Robot series? How about the other four books in the Foundation series? The original Foundation trilogy is available, but not the other four books he wrote many years later.

It’s been long enough that the rights may have reverted back to the Asimov estate and since been transfered elsewhere, but many of these missing titles were last published in mass-market paperback form by Del Rey or Spectra, which are both part of the huge Random House family.

Random House has been less than great about getting old catalog titles out in eBook format, and like most companies they won’t tell anything about what they’ve got in the pipeline. However, like most companies they’ll probably respond to requests from customers in sufficient numbers. So please do contact them and let them know that you would like to see more of Asimov’s classic SF works available in eBook format.

Their website is at: http://www.randomhouse.com

Email addresses I’ve been able to find include: ecustomerservice@randomhouse.com, BBPublicity@randomhouse.com

You can also send them messages on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/DelReySpectra

You can send them mail at:

Random House, Inc.
1745 Broadway
New York, NY 10019
(212) 782-9000

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