My version of the future is receding into the past, as they all do – but the vagaries of contemporary publishing have made that happen a bit faster than I anticipated.
Yes, folks, Rough Guide to the Future is going out of print. (Shocking, I know.) There may still be a copy in your local bookstore, but you can no longer get the publisher to ship you one.
I mention this partly because I’m giving a talk tonight and the book is named in the blurb, so seems as well to record that it’s now harder to get hold of. Also because, there is a certain wry amusement in the author of a futures book being able to add the following. So acute are my powers of prediction that I also failed to foresee the additional news in the standard regretful email from the esteemed commissioning editor telling me the book was going away. Rough Guides Reference Division is also ceasing to be… Some of their volumes do remain available but there will be no new titles (and no jobs there), as far as I know.
So… my book now has a nice double distinction: it was shortlisted for a prize, and it broke the publisher, or feels a bit like that.
It also leaves an annoyingly untidy situation for any prospective readers at this late date, which I share because it is a small example of where book publishing is at – that is, in a mess. The print rights (which I don’t really care about – update it? No thanks) revert to me now, I think. The eBook rights, maybe not. After all an eBook can’t go out of print… can it? And even if the rights did come to me, that wouldn’t include RG’s design work, or the images and diagrams, so all I would have would be a plain text. Some of that might be worth drawing on for new works, I suppose (feel free to ask), but the whole thing would be dull to swallow.
So rather overpriced eBook – which, stupidly, cost more than the paperback after Amazon’s print book discount – remains on offer from them, and from Rough Guides, and other sellers I guess although I haven’t checked. I doubt that they’ll actually sell any, but then keeping a web page up costs virtually nothing so they aren’t going to lose, either.
I do, as it happens, also have DRM-free PDF and ePub files of the actual book here. It goes without saying these are strictly for my own personal use…