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Where are the Hugo Ebooks

I first started reading Sci-Fi in the late 1970’s. But I didn’t read too many of the Hugo award winning books of that day. I read my favorites and the stuff that interested me at the time. But now I’m in my late forties and I write my own SF novels. As someone who writes in the genre, I think that reading the Hugo winning novels, especially the books from the seventies onward would be a good thing.

I do much of my reading on my Kindle. And love them or loath them, Amazon has the largest selection of ebooks in the world. I figured that of all genres, surly the one that professes to be about the future would have converted all of their award winning novels into ebooks by now, right? Wrong. This is just an informal survey of Hugo award winning novels from the seventies and only three are available as ebooks on Amazon.

There are some pretty big named writers in this list and I find it astounding that they are not yet available as ebooks. This discrepancy was first noticed when I went looking for the Kindle edition of Ringworld by Larry Niven. Not available.

1970 The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin

1971 Ringworld by Larry Niven [Ballantine, 1970]

1972 To Your Scattered Bodies Go by Philip José Farmer [Putnam, 1971]

1973 The Gods Themselves by Isaac Asimov [Galaxy]

1974 Rendezvous With Rama by Arthur C. Clarke [Galaxy]

1975 The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin [Harper & Row, 1974]

1976 The Forever War by Joe Haldeman [St. Martin’s, 1974]

1977 Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang by Kate Wilhelm [Harper & Row, 1976]

1978 Gateway by Frederik Pohl [Galaxy Nov,Dec 1976,Mar 1977; St. Martin’s, 1977]

1979 Dreamsnake by Vonda N. McIntyre [Houghton Mifflin, 1978]

I think it’s disgraceful that the best novels of the year for the seventies are not available to ebook readers. I’m afraid to look at the 80’s and 90’s, I mean before the 1970’s that’s not cool either, but at least you could argue that those novels are “dated” from a contemporary writer’s perspective. Still, all of the Hugo awarded novels should be available as ebooks in this day and age.

2 thoughts on “Where are the Hugo Ebooks”

  1. It has to do with rights. The rights to these books would reverted years ago. In the cases where rights were re-negotiated, they weren’t always re-negotiated for digital printing. And for those books with dead authors, it’s not always clear who owns the rights. The publishers are much better off not publishing books to which they don’t have the rights. Look at the mess Dorchester is in. Sure, some of these authors are alive and willing to see their books in digital form, but negotiating a contract is a long involved process, and one that’s more trouble than it’s worth in most cases.

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