SF Book-of-the-Month Clubs
|from Fancyclopedia 2 ca. 1959|
|After the Second World War a number of attempts were made to offer selections well-chosen from the flood of books which began to appear about 1948. Fantasy Guild was one of several semipro attempts at a book-of-the-month club for stfnists; this one, HQ in San Francisco, chose Heard's The Lost Cavern and Others as its first selection, and World of Null-A as its second. It lasted at least thru August 1948, and even distributed some dividend books, such as And Some Were Human, to its membership. The Fantasy Book Club of New York, November '48, planned a bimonthly bulletin and offered such fine selections as The Porcelain Magician, Skylark III, Without Sorcery, and Pattern for Conquest. A more fannish attempt at a book club was the Fantasy and Science Fiction Book Club — no relation to the prozine or bookshop of this name — hatched by Ron Rentz in 1952 which was supposed to be non-profit and doubtless was. Its first (and only) selection was Kurt Vonnegut's Player Piano. Doubleday launched its successful (commercially, that is) SF Book Club in 1953. In England, Sidgewick & Jackson publishers operate a Science Fiction Book Club, offering a bimonthly list of cheap [but reportedly good] reprints, at 4/6 to 6/ (65¢-85¢).
It strikes your chronicler that the error of these clubs lay in selling good, and expensive, books from the SF specialist publishing houses, which most fans would get anyway even if special arrangements were not made. Doubleday and Sidgewick & Jackson did things on the large scale and could produce cheapsky stuff with low overhead.
page revision: 5, last edited: 26 Jun 2016 21:48