Shipping Update & About E-book Versions

The books, as reported last time, will be on the way to me as you read this. A few people, who simply couldn’t wait, already have their books on the way via air. (This is expensive, I don’t do it myself, and to save you the agony of making a decision–it’s too late for volumes 5 & 6 anyway.)

Once the books clear customs, the prices for sets will go up. I’m not sure how much. Greed is struggling with my innate basic rapaciousness to come out on top.

Folks such as you, who fronted money way in advance, haven’t seen a price increase. But to cover the rising cost of everything, the remaining sets will be sold at prices above the $1295 you paid. On the other hand, if you decide in a year to purchase a second set, please remind me that you bought-in as a subscriber, and I will make a discount in your case, even if I cannot offer the set at $1295 in the future.

About e-books. Some of you have asked about this. John Vance and I had a conversation some time ago about publishing the entire Work electronically. There are concerns  on the part of the Vances, and on my part as well. The Vances require that some sort of effective digital copyright mechanism be in place. I agree. Trouble is, I haven’t yet seen a DCM that I believe in. Now, it’s true that Vance fans are not the sort to make unlimited pirate copies for all and sundry. But there are people out there who do just that. So I, at least, do not care to publish Jack Vance as an e-book collection.

(One advantage of e-books would be that I would know to whom I sold the copy that was pirated. Sort of like locking the door of the e-barn after the e-horse has gotten e-out.)

I know, I know, it would have to be less expensive than print editions. Of course. But a CVIE in electronic format would still have to be reset to meet my standards, and when all was said and done, the e-CVIE would still be hundreds of dollars. And I have not even considered trying to convince some of the copyright holders to let me do this. So for now, sorry: no e-CVIE.



  1. töff said,

    November 29, 2010 at 1:36 pm

    My writers group has just released our first anthology, both in print and in ebook formats ( We declined to apply DRM for two reasons: first, it’s not fully compatible across readers, causing a hassle; second, as Bob says, there ain’t one that really works. Of course, our fears of piracy are not on the scale of those who control the works of Jack Vance.

    However, it’s the wave of the future. The old paradigms are failing. It might be decades or even centuries before the transition is complete, but we are headed for such an era. I’m enjoying watching it unfold, no matter how painful the birth is.

  2. Chris said,

    November 30, 2010 at 2:08 am

    A few comments on ebooks and DRM. First off, any DRM can be broken. No form of copy protection will stop someone who is motivated to break it. Sell the book at a reasonable price, make it convenient to buy, and very few will bother to pirate it.

    Piracy isn’t a real concern to making money. Every non RIAA/MPAA study has shown that piracy either has no effect on, or increases sales. In the case of someone like Vance, getting his work out there would only help sales. Most people I talk to have never heard of Vance. Once I loan them something from my VIE collection (something that Vance makes $0 on), they want to buy some for themselves. But they can’t since it is only available occasionally in high cost collections.

    Having dead tree only versions of his text does not prevent digital piracy. I have a setup for digitizing reference books for the shop. I can turn 400 pages an hour into searchable PDFs for my iPad. If there was any demand for Vance’s work in a pirated digital form, it would be out there already. For examples of this, see the ebook versions of Harry Potter that have never been released in digital format. The reason Vance’s stuff isn’t out is because his only fans are serious fans who have his work already. People who would be casual fans have no idea he exists.

    If the VIE was split into ten or twelve volumes and sold for $9.99 each, or less, on Kindle, they would do well. Casual fans would start reading his work again. Even if five in ten people were pirating the work, that would be five more paying customers, and ten more fans. Right now he has effectively zero paying customers, and effectively zero new fans. It would be nice to see a re-birth of Jack’s work instead of it falling further into obscurity.

    I came to the game late as a Vance fan. I was fortunate to get a copy of the VIE as the subscriptions were winding down (and fortunate to be able to afford it). But as much as I enjoy my copy of the VIE, I want a digital copy for my iPad/Kindle to make it easier to read while traveling. Hopefully a digital copy gets published sometime soon.

    For an in depth look at these issues from an author who is actually making money with ebooks, read Joe Konrath’s blog (and I might add an author who has a fraction of Vance’s talent).


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