The Tor Store will sell paperbacks, comics, hardbacks, and ebooks to the last people left who take literature seriously: anti-authoritarian science fiction and fantasy obsessives. Right now, the store is offering 45,000 or so titles, with many more to come as publishers take advantage of Tor's clearinghouse for all things fantastic and imaginative.
According to Publisher's Weekly, the Tor Store will also begin offering ebooks in the next three months. I wonder if they have a good plan for protecting their shit, since they won't be offering a proprietary device for all these ebooks they will be selling. Hopefully, they are waiting three months for the next generation of tablet PCs to rear their heads, and will be offering persistent online editions of books (Google's plan) instead of books available for "download."
Hopefully, they will be offering these books at a reasonable, competitive price that will entice poor people. If I had one of those tablets, I'd definitely get a Tor account to read disposable fantasy ebooks if they were cheap enough. With pictures!
The Tor Store is pretty ugly right now, and it definitely seems like it would be well-served to merge further with the actual Tor.com website to provide book reviews and blog content so that the Tor Store doesn't seem like just another typical publisher book drive.
And if the store is successful, losing the "Tor" name would be useful if they actually want to attract serious business from competing publishers. But then again, if they are trying to become the place where "serious" publishers can dump their moneymaking bullshit, why not keep the name and simply transition from an ink-and-paper publisher to the world's most impressive, dedicated epublisher?
You will notice on "Pirate Bay" that the only fiction books that anybody bothers to pirate are giant science-fiction and fantasy collections. The Tor Store will live and die based upon its ability to protect the work of its authors.
However, I tentatively commend this new bookstore. Tor figures that it knows the market better than anyone because they created it, and it is hard to argue with them. Tor is going to be goddamned if they let their products be controlled and co-opted by companies that operate exactly like the mad, power-hungry villains in every single one of their books. If I want to buy a fantastical work of literature online, I shall now hit Tor first and see if they've got it before I hump over to Powell's.
You can fool evvvvvvvvverybody else, Googleklar and Red Amazon. But fooling those die-hard, dice-wielding sharpies who have the enchanted weapons, skill-checks, and experience points necessary to do battle with you in your cave? You simply don't have the charisma high enough to match their wisdom.
Posted by miracle on Thu, 18 Jun 2009 10:18:02 -0400 -- permanent link