This is my favorite new e-book project seeking funds on Kickstarter: Save the Scifi! A group called Singularity & Co. will scan and publish out-of-print science fiction novels in e-book form — but only after talking to the authors and getting their permission. It's basically a version of what HiLo Books is doing with Radium Age classics, but for out-of-print titles whose authors are still alive and kicking.
So many terrific science fiction books could get lost in the transition from print to digital, mostly because they fell out of print (even if they were fabulous books). With the rights reverted to the authors, publishers aren't interested in investing the time and money to scan them. Singularity & Co. to the rescue!
Here's a description of this project and what the fundraisers will do with the money:
Each month we'll choose one great classic, obscure or otherwise fascinating sci-fi book that's no longer in print and not available online, track down the copyright holder and/or author (if they're still around), acquire or otherwise clear the copyright, and publish the title both online and as an e-book, for little or no cost. Our supporters and followers will help us choose which books will be digitally rescued from copyright and publishing limbo via a monthly poll on our website, and we'll share the story behind the story, including with each ebook what we learned about the book, the author and their history along the way . . . This Kickstarter campaign will allow us to rescue our first four neglected works by providing for the following:
* Acquiring and curating the treasures to be found among many, many paper copies of old, out of print sci-fi books
* Expanding our current website to allow us to display and deliver our sci-fi library - physically as well as electronically - and support voting capabilities for fans to help decide the next titles to be rescued
* Building an open source book scanner (see http://www.diybookscanner.org/ for an example) to aid in turning forgotten paper books into e-books
* Covering costs associated with tracking down rightsholders, authors and/or their estates, as well as clearing or acquiring the electronic publishing rights to our orphaned books
* Spreading the word not only to established fans but also potential supporters who love great books and ideas (may include attending conventions, creating t-shirts, prints and anything else we can think of)
* Covering costs associated with legal work to be done by our attorneys, all of whom are generously contributing their time pro bono (we're trying to keep our costs as low as possible)
This project is already funded, but you can still donate to it and help the group get more books out there. I can't think of a better way to spend a few bucks — you'll be preserving the history of the future.
Learn more and donate on the Save the Scifi! Kickstarter page