For the past two months, the fate of Night Shade Books has been up in the air. Would the beloved indie science fiction press go bankrupt, or would a buy-out by two entities, Skyhorse and Start, go through? Now, at last, we know — Night Shade will continue as an imprint of the two larger publishers.
Top image: Cover detail, The Daedalus Incident by Michael J. Martinez.
All along, the sticking point has apparently been whether Night Shade's authors would agree to some modifications of their contracts with the independent publisher — which Skyhorse and Start agreed to make more generous after authors protested the original plan. Now it seems that enough existing authors have signed on to make all of this worth the buyers' while. And that, in turn, means that Night Shade will continue publishing new SF and fantasy books.
Here's the official press release:
Skyhorse Publishing, Inc. and Start Publishing are pleased to announce the acquisition of Night Shade Books, an award-winning independent publishing house dedicated to science fiction, fantasy, and horror.
Founded by Jason Williams in 1997, who was joined by partner Jeremy Lassen shortly after, Night Shade Books has over 250 titles in its catalog, including some renowned genre fiction—written by multiple nominees and winners of Shirley Jackson, Bram Stoker, World Fantasy, Nebula, and Hugo awards. In 2003, Night Shade Books won the World Fantasy Special Award for Professional Achievement. Both Williams and Lassen will continue to be with Night Shade in a consulting capacity.
The agreement was reached following a spirited and public debate among authors, agents, fans, and publishers, which resulted in a deal approved by Night Shade’s authors. “This agreement brings together Night Shade’s distinctive editorial voice and Skyhorse’s business savvy and market reach, for the benefit of all involved, including authors and the great community of SF/F fans,” says Michael J. Martinez, author of The Daedalus Incident, slated to be the first title from the new Night Shade. “I’m honored that my first book will help kick off the next chapter in Night Shade’s ongoing story.”
“We’re absolutely thrilled to have added Night Shade to our various other imprints and look forward to working with Start Publishing to build it into the strong science fiction imprint that we feel confident it can become,” said Tony Lyons, Publisher of Skyhorse Publishing, Inc.
“Nightshade has been at the forefront of science fiction and fantasy for years. Start Publishing, alongside Skyhorse Publishing, welcomes the opportunity to provide Night Shade and its authors a platform to continue that tradition,” added Michael Maher, CEO of Start Media.
“I am very excited to have found a buyer that is such a good fit for Night Shade, one that will be able to take us further than I was able to on my own. I look forward to building up Night Shade into the powerhouse of science fiction and fantasy for years to come,” said Night Shade founder Jason Williams. Night Shade had net sales of roughly $1.5 million for the 2012 calendar year.