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Transreal Books

At this point in my career and in the history of publishing, it seems reasonable for me to abandon—at least for some of my titles—printed books and commercial publishers. So I’ve started my own Transreal Books. I see at least three kinds of advantages to this move.

(1) I’m freed from commercial constraints to the formatting of my books—in particular an ebook can be very long, as in my Complete Stories ebook, or it can include color images, as in my projected Better Worlds ebook. And I’ll be able to sell my books at a reasonable price.

(2) I can repeatedly revise a book without having to go through the complex process required for new print editions. For instance, as time goes by, I can keep adding more stories to Complete Stories.

(3) By becoming a publisher, I have the final say over what books I put out—and I receive a larger share of the royalties.

I’ve been seriously crunching the HTML and EPUB formats for a week or two—I’ll say more about all that nutsy-and-boltsy stuff in some other post. But for today, here are the current and planned releases from Transreal Books!


Complete Stories
Buy as Amazon Kindle or Barnes & Noble NOOK.

Collected together in one mammoth volume: all of Rudy Rucker’s science-fiction stories, a trove of gnarl and wonder. This, the first edition, includes stories from 1976 through 2011. As well as a volume’s worth of fifteen new stories, Complete Stories includes all the tales from The 57th Franz Kafka, Transreal, Gnarl!, and Mad Professor. As well as Rucker’s solo stories, we have collaborations with Bruce Sterling, Marc Laidlaw, Paul Di Filippo, John Shirley, Terry Bisson, and Eileen Gunn.


The Hollow Earth
Buy as Amazon Kindle or Barnes & Noble NOOK.

Hollow Earth is a classic work of American steampunk. In 1836, Mason Algiers Reynolds leaves his family’s Virginia farm with his father’s slave, a dog named Arf, and a mule named Dammit. Branded a murderer, he finds sanctuary with his hero, frustrated genius Edgar Allan Poe, and together they embark on an extraordinary expedition to the South Pole, and the entrance to the Hollow Earth. It is there, at the center of the world, where strange physics, strange people, and stranger creatures abound, that their bizarre adventures truly begin. 1st print edition Avon Books, 1990. 2nd print edition Monkeybrain Books, 2006. Transreal Books ebook version of 2nd edition, 2012.


And what’s ahead? Here are some of the titles I’m planning:

Complete Essays
Better Worlds (paintings)
All the Visions. (early memoir)
Infinity and the Mind
The Fourth Dimension
Geometry, Relativity and the Fourth Dimension
Mind Tools
Journals 1990 – 2011

Yeah, baby. Free at last.

29 Responses to “Transreal Books”

  1. Mike Says:

    I hate to use the word, but “w00t!” This is the best news I’ve heard all week! Looking forward to getting my ereading mitts on some vintage Rucker. Thanks, sir!

  2. emilio Says:

    Awsome. I shared this on g+.

  3. paul gibson Says:

    I’ve been thinking about collecting my short stories and publishing them in iBooks. Interested to hear how this goes for you.

  4. Rhys Hughes Says:

    Ah, this is utterly tremendous news! I blogged about it briefly on my blog, for what that’s worth. Rucker is *the* man and this collection is *the* book!

  5. Aris Alissandrakis Says:

    Dear Rudy,

    Best of luck with your new publishing adventures! Any plans to support Kobo/ePub as well?

    Also, besides the upcoming nut-and-bolts post which I am very looking forward to, any thoughts/comments on the distribution of your books via Amazon and B&N (similar to related posts by Charles Stross’ on his blog some time ago on how the publishing industry really works) would be very interesting 🙂

    best regards,
    Aris

  6. Dan Says:

    Awesome. Any plans to release these on non-DRMed formats? (plain EPUB, for example).

  7. Rudy Says:

    Thanks for the enthusiasm! Re other formats, I’m looking for the best way for me to directly sell EPUB. I considered using Smashwords, but for me a better solution will be to put a shopping-cart script on my Transreal Books page—my son Rudy Jr. of Monkeybrains.net knows all about these kinds of things. Getting listed on a zillion smaller distributors could be more trouble than it’s worth. And by the way, I have no problem at all with non-DRM editions.

    Oh, and Re other ereading platforms, do note that you can read Kindle or NOOK on iPhone or iPad.

    Putting out an iBook is such a hassle that I think I’ll do it via Lulu—for me one win with Lulu over Smashwords is that Lulu lets me submit an EPUB rather than a Word file, and after slaving to get a nice EPUB edited, I’d rather use that than settle for an automated conversion.

  8. jack Says:

    If I buy the kindle edition today and you revise the book in the future, how (or will?) do I get an updated copy of the book? Very excited about this!

  9. Roland Turner Says:

    Kudos for this Rudy, but why the geographic constraints? I can understand traditional publishers with massive advertising costs – and therefore exclusive deals with regional partners – wanting to control distribution by region, but this doesn’t seem to describe you.

    Was limiting Kindle distribution to North America (or at least excluding APAC – I’ve not gone through each of the regions individually to check) a reasoned choice, or a default setting that didn’t draw your attention?

  10. Rudy Says:

    Jack, I am not sure if you can get a free update of the book in, say, a year or two when I have written enough new stories to warrant a new edition. If at any time you erase your, let us say, Kindle copy on your home machine, then, as I understand it, you can download or access a new copy of the book for free from Kindle. But I’m not sure if Kindle would at that time give you the updated copy or whether they would somehow give you a copy of the original edition that you had.

  11. Rudy Says:

    Roland, my impression is that Kindle will sell my ebooks on their French, German, Italian, UK, and Spanish sites. Your email address’s country code seems to be CX, which matches Christmas Island, a part of Australia, and Kindle has no Australian site, so you’d have to use the US Amazon from there. But perhaps they block the listing? Not sure. Let me know.

    A little research shows some threads on a Mobileread forum relative to the issue of buying Kindle books from US Amazon while overseas.

    So far as I know, the NOOK books are sold only in the US, and B&N isn’t really usable overseas for ebooks.

    Still figuring this out. As I mentioned before, I’m hoping to have EPUB versions for sale on my own Transreal Books site by April, 2012, and these will be available worldwide.

  12. alexxx Says:

    Rudy! What on earth is keeping you from republishing the wonderful, wonderful White Light? I enjoyed it a lot (read it in italian) and would like so much to re-read it in original, possibly ebook form…

  13. Jack Says:

    Rudy, thanks for the reply. I’m planning on picking it up anyway, but waiting for an ePub edition — I’ve been looking for “The 57th Franz Kafka” for years and haven’t found a reasonably-priced used copy yet. Can’t wait!

  14. Rudy Says:

    Alexxx, WHITE LIGHT is on Kindle now in US, so check for it on Italian Kindle. it I don’t own erights to this book, so can’t epublish it myself. Let me know if you find it.

  15. Rudy Says:

    I kept tweaking the formatting of COMPLETE STORIES up until about March 4, 2012. It’s a bit slicker now…I made the paragraph indent a bit bigger, put a page break after each story, and make sure that the ereader uses a serif font like Times instead of a sans-serif font like Arial, and changed to curly quotes, and put the notes at the ends of the stories instead of at the end of the book.

    Your version may already have some of these changes, and of course things tend to look different on different ereaders in any case.

    Can you exchange your version for the slightly more tweaked version?

    As I now understand it, you can do this as follows: Delete the book from your reading device (which is sometimes called “archiving” it). Then go to the online bookstore (Kindle or NOOK), and ask the store to download the book to your device. I think you will then get the latest version.

    Note however that when you do this maneuver you’ll lose any bookmarks or notations that you made on your original copy of the ebook.

  16. Alex Says:

    Great news! I vote for buying EPUB direct from your website. Just use the Paypal shopping cart, it very simple to set up. Also add the dwolla payment, that’s much better than PP, but only available in USA.
    Also I’d love to be able buy the ‘Complete Stories’ as an actual book, maybe 2 or 3 volumes by print on demand service? ~ Alex

  17. Gary Gibson Says:

    Hi Rudy – fabulous news, especially since I’ve been dying to get hold of an ebook version of the Transreal! collection for years – but this, of course, is even better. Any likelihood you’ll be bringing Saucer Wisdom out in an e-edition any time soon?

  18. Rudy Says:

    Gary, there is a Kindle version of SAUCER WISDOM, I know. See the list of all my Kindle books. Note that list spreads across more than one page, so you need to click through to the second page, the control for this is down at the bottom of the first page.

    Alex, yes I’ll put Paypal payment on my Transreal Books site when I start selling EPUB direct, indeed that’s much simpler than taking credit cards.

    I’d never heard of dwolla before, sounds like a joke word, a science-fiction word, but I see it’s real. I wonder if anyone uses dwollas…

  19. Gary Gibson Says:

    Hi Rudy. I did check your link, but it’s still not there, I’m afraid, unless browsing Amazon.com from the UK is giving me a different result. I checked Amazon UK as well. Still no sign!

    I have noticed that very occasionally a book will fail to pop up in search results even if it is in fact for sale on Amazon. Perhaps that’s the problem?

  20. Gary Gibson Says:

    Okay, I found it. But I had to search “saucer wisdom” and “kindle” through google to finally find it (http://www.amazon.com/Saucer-Wisdom-ebook/dp/B006GR7NKQ). For some reason it doesn’t turn up through a search on Amazon itself. Also, it’s listed under maths & technology, I don’t know if that makes a difference. Also, also, I see the ebook is published by Macmillan, which means, I guess, they hold the e-rights.

    And unfortunately for me, it still doesn’t appear to be available outside the US! You could always ask the publisher, I guess, if you could e-publish it outside the US, if you felt it was worth the effort.

  21. Steve H Says:

    Congratulations! “Every man his own printing press” was one of the original aims of the internet anyway, so I guess that means The Future is finally here. Dammit, still no flying cars.

  22. Rudy Says:

    Gary, I forgot to mention that the list of my Amazon ebooks takes up two pages, and you need to click through to the second page at the bottom of the screen…and I’ll revise my earlier comment to include this fact. Let me know if you can make it work now…I’m assuming you’re in UK.

  23. Jason Says:

    If you don’t want to handle the nuts and bolts of selling them yourself; the sci-fi author, and computer programmer, Daniel Keys Moran also runs an ebook publishing start up fs& at: http://www.fsand.com

    Not sure about any of the terms and such like but Daniel is by all accounts a stand up guy. In addition to being a sci-fi author himself.

    Not sure what is happening over there, but just thought I would mention it in case it was useful to you. I am delighted to see you putting these out. I will likely snap them all up once I can buy them from you directly as epubs.

  24. Mike Says:

    I would definitely prefer to buy non-DRM versions directly from you. Especially so if you could work it out so purchasers can get free upgrades, like the tweaks you’ve made to Complete Stories, for life. The Amazon return dance is a bit of a hassle… Anyway, still excited about this venture, and I’m definitely enjoying working my way through the Complete Stories. Thanks again for doing this!

  25. Bruce Camber Says:

    Just simply too much fun. Yes, yes, yes, for the disintermediation of space and time! Here is the new paradigm (thank you, Tom Kuhn) for an epistemological revolution where the really real meets the transreal redefining the surreal. -Bruce

  26. Rudy Says:

    So all right! I’ve got direct book downloads working from my Transreal Books page.

    The books are in the generic ePub format, with no DRM lock. I have some suggestions about ePub readers for various platforms on the Transreal Books page…there’s lots of good options.

    I’m using E-junkie and PayPal to make the ordering system. You can pay with credit cards as well as PayPal, and you can buy the books from anywhere in the world.

    Go git ’em!

  27. Rudy Says:

    Todd Fincannon shares his method for getting a free update to a NOOK version of one of my Transreal titles. Not that I’ve been updating them lately.

    See http://toddfincannon.com/2012/03/20/how-to-update-nook-books/

    In a nutshell, you “archive” the book, then “unarchive” it, and the latest version appears on your reader. I’m guessing that this process works for Kindle as well.

  28. Rudy Says:

    Changes at Transreal Books! All titles now come in both Epub, and Mobi formats for one low price.

    (Q 1) I would find it useful if I could pay you once for both EPUB and MOBI files. I realize I can convert one format to the other with the free Calibre software, but I’m uneasy about that.

    (A 1) As of April 19, 2012, Transreal Books offers all books in both the EPUB and the MOBI formats on one download page, two separate file downloads for one price.

    (Q 2) It would be awesome if I could buy print-on-demand editions as well.

    (A 2) P.O.D. coming soon via CreateSpace.

    (Q 3) Aren’t you tempting fate by publishing volumes called “Collected Essays” and “Complete Stories”?

    (A 3) Calling my volumes “Complete Stories” and “Collected Essays” is, I admit, a bit like a premature obituary. But I do this as a bit of a joke, and as a nod to the elastic nature of epublishing. I’m taking into account that, as time goes by, I may continue fattening these volumes. This isn’t unheard of. Walt Whitman added to his poetry book “Leaves of Grass” throughout his life.

    (Q 4) If you do in fact write more, might the 2012 editions become obsolete?

    (A 4) Each direct purchase from Transreal Books comes with a licensed URL link for three downloads, so if you manage to save this download link, you can in fact reuse it to get a later download of a volume that’s grown larger. Note also that you buy your book from Amazon, from B&N, or from iBooks, you are able at a future time to “archive” and then “unarchive” your book generating a fresh download onto your ereader.

  29. Rudy Says:

    Two questions from Roy B. in Kyoto regarding Transeal Books editions.

    (Q 5) Do you have Amazon selling a DRM-free file, or would it only be DRM free if I buy it directly from you? I assume that you get more of the money from a direct sale anyway, so I expect I will just go with and recommend that option, but I am still curious about the difference between the options.

    (A 5) It’s better for me if you get the downloads directly from Transreal Books, as then I get about $2 or even $3 more per book. But if you’re happier with Amazon that’s OK too. The main thing is that you get the book!

    Regarding DRM, certainly you want non-DRM ebooks as then you’re not forever tied to one particular ereader. Non-DRM is the emerging new standard.

    I turned off DRM for my Amazon ebooks, so my Amazon Kindle books don’t in fact have the DRM. Amazon still renames my MOBI file’s upload to have the proprietary AZW file extension name. But, as far as I can tell, they don’t change the MOBI in any other way. This means that if you copy a non-DRM AZW Kindle file to your computer, you can you rename the file extension to MOBI, and then you can can read this MOBI on any device or app that accepts MOBI format. For that matter, you can load your MOBI into the free Calibre program and convert it to a still-more-portable EPUB, although possibly the formatting might not be exactly what you’d like. But of course it’s simpler to just buy the MOBI or EPUB direct from Transreal Books in the first place.

    (Q 6) The image resolution on Kindle files is often pretty poor. Do the files you sell yourself have larger and better looking images?

    (A 6) The least-expensive Kindle reader only displays images up to about 500 pixels across, but there are larger Kindle formats (like the Kindle Fire), so Amazon doesn’t automatically shrink images in their AZW files. But as of 2012, an image on a low end Kindle device it will always look bad because of the device’s inherently low resolution.

    I tweak my EPUB and MOBI builds so my images are 700 pixels across, which is decent for most ereaders. And you can see the higher rez on higher-end Kindle devices, such as Kindle app on an iPad. I could jack my image size up to 1000 across, but this would bloat a book file like “Collected Essays” up to about 20 Meg, which seems excessive for a file download in 2012. As it is, the file is 10 Meg. In the future, in particular for art books, I will sometimes go to the 1000-pixel-across image size.


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