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11th Trek Day of Xmas 08: eBooks

Fan fiction is the Cindarella of Star Trek fan productions.

Whereas advances in technology have allowed fans to expand into creative areas that they have hitherto been locked out of because of the expenses of production and distribution, why have there been no corresponding advances in fan fiction? Fans are making their own sophisticated films, audio productions, comics, computer games - all of these being media that where the exclusive realm of professionals only twenty years ago.

What is the "Holy Grail" of any fan, the secret desire that we would never admit to but which draws us to the concept of fan productions? That we too might be a part of the Star Trek world! Some fans are living that dream! Their face might be recognised across the world by their fellow fans as "That guy who played an Andorian in Starship Exeter" or as the voice of a starship captain in an audio drama. Most though are happy to be part of the team that brings these major projects to life, either as production crew or supporters. It would be fair to say that the secret dream of most fan fiction writers is to be published and for their work to be read and appreciated by as wide an audience as possible.

This has been virtually unattainable in the past because the publishing industry has been a "closed shop" that relied on large print-runs and a complex warehousing and distribution system that was expesive to maintain and needed to be protected by the stringent application of the copyright laws. Sounds familiar? Yes, you could say the same about the movie studios and the music industry, both of whom have had major problems with the changing face of technology

There is one advance in technology that could prove to be advantagious to the publishing industry though. Consider the lifespan of a book. It is written by the author, published by the printer, distributed by the trucking firms, warehoused, stacked in the shelves and then sold. From it's first release the average book can expect a popular lifespan of months or years when it is economical for the publisher, distributor and bookseller to keep the shelves stocked with new copies of it. Eventually the public will stop buying it, perhaps it might have exhausted the reader-base for it's genre, and the remaining copies will end up in the clearance sale bin and the publisher will stop publishing that edition. Once the remaining copies are sold, it will be one of the millions of "out-of-print" books that are only available as second hand copies.

What if I were to tell you that there was a way of extending the lifespan of a book indefinately? That there was a way of making it possible for publishers to reap a profit from books hat had been out of print for years? That to make that profit all they had to provide was some basic production infrastructure (at a fraction of the cost of the traditional printing industry) that there were virtually no distribution costs and that the customers would come direct to them, the publisher, rather than a bookseller?

It's called electronic publishing and the advantage to fans is that it also represents a way for us to see our own work distributed for free internationally in a near-professional format.

As part of the Twelve Trek Days of Christmas, From today TrekUnited and ShadowKnight Productions present for your free entertainment, six outstanding examples of Star Trek fan fiction, to be released over consecutive days in Adobe Acrobat format, on the Issuu distribution network: the closest thing you'll get to free online publishing!

In the following weeks we will be following this with releases of the same books in different eBook formats, initially TXT, HTML, Mobipocket and ePub. It is our hope that this will encourage Star Trek fans - normally the first to pick up new technology - to checkout the licensed eBooks from Pocketbook, many of which are no longer available in print, and stimulate Pocketbooks to release more of their archive of out of print novels.

Follow the links in each release to go to the book's download page.


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