BVC’s “All You Can Read”
Library Ebook Plan

Book View Café (BVC), the author-run epublisher, has launched a library-friendly “All You Can Read” ebook program by signing distribution agreements with Douglas County Libraries, the third largest library system in Colorado, and Wheelers Books, New Zealand’s largest online new book supplier to schools and libraries.

Chris Dolley, BVC Library Coordinator, explains how it works:

We place no restrictions on the number of times our titles may be loaned out and offer up to 45% discount to libraries, making the average price for our books less than $3.00. Everybody wins: libraries, their patrons, and our authors.

Book View Café is a cooperative effort whose members share the tasks of editing, formatting, and other steps in publishing. Members include Hugo and Nebula award winners (Ursula Le Guin, Vonda N. McIntyre, David D. Levine, and Linda Nagata), NY Times bestsellers and notable book authors (Patricia Rice, Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff, Lois Gresh, and Sarah Zettel), Campbell winner Seanan McGuire/Mira Grant, and Philip K. Dick award winner C.L. Anderson.

BVC publishes original titles and also books from its members’ substantial backlist. “Overall, we’re up to two books a week, sometimes three,” says Pati Nagle, BVC’s Publications Director. “And each month more well-known authors join our co-operative. Currently we have 40 authors and over 140 titles.”

The library program is more than just a marketing idea. BVC members personally feel strongly that libraries should be supported. “As a reader I owe a huge debt to libraries,” says Chris Dolley. “I came from a family who loved books but couldn’t afford to buy them. The local library introduced me to authors and subjects I’d never have read otherwise. We hope the All You Can Read program will help do the same today.”

Le Guin on Death of the Book

At Book View Café Ursula K. Le Guin pretends to brood over ”The Death of the Book”, then shares her ultimate opinion, one similar to Mark Twain’s famous quip about a reported death being greatly exaggerated:

Anyhow, the eschatologists’ judgment is that the book is going to die and go to heaven or hell, leaving us to the mercy of Hollywood and our computer screens.

There certainly is something sick about the book industry, but it seems closely related to the sickness affecting every industry that, under pressure from a corporate owner, dumps product standards and long-range planning in favor of ‘predictable’ sales and short-term profits….

The life span of a book is more like that of the horse, or the human being, sometimes the oak, even the redwood. Which is why it seems a good idea, rather than mourning their death, to rejoice that books now have two ways of staying alive, getting passed on, enduring, instead of only one.

[Thanks to John Mansfield for the story.]

One of My Favorite SF Stories

Nancy Jane Moore is curating a new Favorite Science Fiction poll at Book View Café Blog expressly offered as a counterpoint to the canvass of favorite sf recently taken by at NPR. Her poll is governed by 7 rules that might as easily have been inspired by public outcry against the dread Guardian poll. For example:

2. The I’m Tired of Hearing About the Golden Age Rule.

4. The Sop to Short Fiction Writers Rule: Short stories, novellas, novelettes — all are OK.

7. The Expanded Russ Pledge Rule: There’s a lot of superb SF that wasn’t written by white men in the U.S. and U.K. Include it.

I’m not a habitual poll-taker. If I responded to this one I would certainly list Lois McMaster Bujold’s “Borders of Infinity,” one of the five best sf novellas I’ve ever read.

I didn’t begin reading the Vorkosigan saga until 1997 – I remember, because I bought my first Bujold novel in a bookstore while waiting for Titanic to start in a nearby theater.

What makes “Borders of Infinity” a favorite of mine? That may come from wanting to identify with how Miles – a man – meets the challenge of being dropped into a POW camp with nothing (literally, as camp inmates rob him of his clothing as soon as he arrives), then overcomes his own fear and despair to create relationships that help lead everyone to freedom.  If the liking is to some extent gender-based, well, what we bring to stories has a lot to do with why some are our favorites, no?

Years later when I became conscious of the high esteem I felt for this oft-reread novella I wondered if it had won both the Hugo and Nebula, or just one of them. And I was astonished to discover it failed to win any awards. It wasn’t even nominated.

There was a reasonable explanation, however. “Borders of Infinity” had been eclipsed by another Bujold novella published the same year, “Mountains of Mourning,” which did win both awards. (I really should have remembered that, having written about Bujold’s problem with her 1990 Hugo in Mimosa 14.)

In the context of the times the voters’ choice makes sense. In 1989 the Vorkosigan saga had barely begun. “Mountains of Mourning” revealed many new and fascinating details about Miles and his homeworld. While both stories delivered the kind of emotional punch that is a hallmark of Bujold’s early work, the winning novella commented most directly about women’s lives in a patriarchal society. I like the winning story a great deal, too.

An additional reason award voters may have had for favoring “Mountains of Mourning” is that as an sf mystery it had to satisfy the requirements of both genres. On the mystery side, that meant the reader had to be allowed a fair chance to see the evidence the detective used to solve the mystery before that solution was revealed. In contrast, at the end of “Borders of Infinity” readers learn a teensy little (well, hugely important actually) bit of information known to Miles from the beginning has been left unmentioned, giving a deus ex machina feel to the resolution.

Can’t say that bothered me – even the prisoners in the story suspect Miles has an unrevealed reason for orchestrating things as he does, and success depends on Miles overcoming a series of challenges without help from the outside.

But I understand these storyteller sleight-of-hand tricks bother some more than others. Like the way some are incensed that in the middle of E. T. when it looks like the title character has suffered a tragic demise, he is restored by some ill-explained phony-baloney medical coincidence. My take — no problem! Aren’t you happier E. T. isn’t dead and it isn’t the end of the movie? And do we want Miles to fail and die in that prison camp? Certainly not! 

BVC’s Omnibus Editions

Sarah Zettel's "Paths to Camelot"

Book View Cafe is offering omnibus editions of four of its most popular book series: Jay Caselberg’s Jack Stein (Wyrmhole, Metal Sky, The Star Tablet and Wall of Mirrors), Vonda N. McIntyre’s Starfarers Quartet (Starfarers, Transition, Metaphase, Nautilus), Steven Harper’s Silent Empire (Dreamer, Nightmare, Offspring, Trickster), and Sarah Zettel’s Paths to Camelot (In Camelot’s Shadow, For Camelot’s Honor, Under Camelot’s Banner, Camelot’s Blood). 
Each omnibus contains four complete novels in a single large file. The books are available in several DRM-free formats. 
Get all four in the BVC bookstore.

Authors Team up to Fight Oil with Ink

Book View Café has created a benefit anthology, Breaking Waves, to help the Gulf Coast Oil Spill Relief Fund of the Greater New Orleans Foundation.

The collection features over 30 stories by an array of best-selling and award-winning authors. There’s a previously-unpublished Ursula K. Le Guin poem, and a chapter from Rachel Carson’s groundbreaking book The Sea Around Us. Vonda N. McIntyre, Judith Tarr, Deborah Ross, Sarah Monette, David D. Levine, David Gessner, and Lyda Morehouse are among other contributors. Tiffany Trent and Phyllis Irene Radford edited the collection.

“We are delighted to put our experience to work for this important project,” said Sarah Zettel, an award-winning science fiction author and managing director of Book View Café. “What’s happening in the Gulf affects all of us, and we all need to do what we can to help alleviate the burden on the people and the environment.”

The book is available in epub, pdf, mobi, and prc formats in the Book View Café bookstore ( and will be coming to the Kindle bookstore soon.

[From the BookViewCafe press release.]

Passion Is Free at BVC

Visit Book View Café for your free copy of The Passionate Café, an ebook of romantic tales from BVC authors:

Stories range from quirky and humorous to Regency by such authors as Patricia Rice, Madeleine Robins, Jennifer Stevenson, Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff, Marissa Day, and Sarah Zettel. Also included in the sampler are stories with “Romantic Elements” that explore not only romantic love but family relationships, political intrigue, and the effects of technology and magic on the most human of bonds. Readers are invited to travel across the galaxy with Steven Harper, deep into the fae realms with P.R. Frost, through the splendid but treacherous halls of Versailles with Vonda N. McIntyre. As a bonus, The Passionate Café includes an excerpt from The Fall of Neskaya by Marion Zimmer Bradley and Deborah J. Ross.

LeGuin Illustrates BVC Story Collection

Book View Café has released a new ebook anthology, Dragon Lords and Warrior Women. Edited by Phyllis Irene Radford, with illustrations by Ursula K. Le Guin, its a collection of fantasy stories written by Book View Café members Deborah J. Ross, Katharine Kerr, Sherwood Smith, Pati Nagle, Steven Harper, Vonda N. McIntyre, Jennifer Stevenson, Brenda W. Clough, Judith Tarr, Chris Dolley, Madeleine Robins, Ursula K. Le Guin, Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff, Sarah Zettel, Irene Radford, Nancy Jane Moore, Amy Sterling Casil, and Katharine Eliska Kimbriel.

For a limited time Pati Nagle’s story in the collection, Kind Hunter, will be posted for free on the front page of the BVC website.

Sherwood Smith Joins Book View Cafe

Sherwood Smith ranks with Mythopoeic fans’ favorite writers, twice a finalist for the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award. She’s also many people’s favorite Mythopoeic fan, having been a creative force in the Mythopoeic Society since its early days.

(Wait! Can a fan be a pro? Can a pro be a fan? Nobody’s ever asked me this before!)

Now you can find her fiction at, beginning with her novelette “Being Real”, about striking back at reality tv when your life ends on the cutting room floor.

The full press release follows the jump.

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