Tag Archives: Richard Curtis

E-Reads Travels to Open Road

Richard Curtis and the E-Readsmobile Prepare to Take to the Open Road

Afoot and light-hearted I take to the open road,
Healthy, free, the world before me,
The long brown path before me leading wherever I choose.

Walt Whitman, Song of the Open Road
Dear Authors, Agents, Publishers and Friends of E-Reads:

As you know, E-Reads, the e-book publisher I founded in 1999, was recently acquired by Open Road, the largest independent e-book publisher in the English language. As of April 1, 2014 publication of our books will be taken over by Open Road, and the E-Reads website will be closed down. We have recently spent a great deal of time with the management and staff of Open Road and have every confidence that their superb publication and marketing machine will create a warm home for our books and greatly enhance their value.

I am very proud of the list that our superb team of artists and technicians has built in the fifteen years since I started the company, inspired by a vision of a digital publishing future that seemed remote at the end of the 90’s but has become the dominant force in books today. Though we created brilliant covers and a wonderfully robust website, our focus was always on the content itself. We loved books, we loved our books, and it gave us intense pleasure to bring them back to print and share their delights with old fans and a new generation of readers.

Although I’ve posted hundreds of blogs promoting E-Reads’ books, I’m somewhat at a loss for words as I convey my baby to its new home. So I’m going to let one of our most successful authors express what is in my heart.


“E-Reads was a unique, precious, important thing in my life, and, I suspect, in the lives of many others. It was a joy to bring up the site and see what might be cooking on one day or another. I muchly enjoyed your blogs, or whatever they might be called. Too, it was nice to see the write-ups on one book or another. Too, your team was professional, effective, gifted, superb. The site was ample, well-organized, and well managed. It was also very attractive. The scroll arrangement, for example, was a marvelous device for pointing up and calling attention to offering after offering. Too, so many of your covers were marvelous. Of course, it was a pioneer project, too. It was original, and historical. What an amazing, and wonderful, fifteen years…

“E-Reads was an individual island, with its own trees, beasts, and scenery. It was a place where one could locate, and conveniently access, many books by many wonderful authors which were no longer generally available. Your rescue mission saved much that otherwise might have perished. It was a place where one could find such things. It designed for itself a needed role, and it played it splendidly.”
John Norman
I will serve in a consultancy role with Open Road to assist in the transition. And of course my commitment to the clients of my literary agency, Richard Curtis Associates, Inc., remains as absolute as ever.

Richard Curtis


Kim Harrison’s “Undead Pool” Hits #1 on New York Times Bestseller List

Kim Harrison returns to the supernatural adventures of Rachel Morgan in The Undead Pool, the penultimate book of Kim Harrison’s bestselling Hollows series. And today it achieves the pinnacle of success in the book industry, the #1 position on the New York Times bestseller list, beating out Janet Evanovich, James Patterson, J. D. Robb (Nora Roberts) and Donna Tartt, author of The Goldfinch.


THE UNDEAD POOL, by Kim Harrison
THE GOLDFINCH, by Donna Tartt
THE CHASE, by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg
PRIVATE L.A., by James Patterson and Mark Sullivan

In The Undead Pool, Witch and day-walking demon Rachel Morgan knows magic—earth, ley line, even the forbidden demon magic—and that knowledge has saved her life more than once. But now something—or someone—is attacking Cincinnati and the Hollows, causing spells to backfire or go horribly wrong while living vampires attack humans and Inderlanders alike.

The pressures build when the city is quarantined to contain the unreliable magic, and Rachel must stop the attacks before the undead vampire masters who keep the rest of the undead under control are lost and it becomes all-out supernatural war.

The only way to do so is through the ancient elven magic, but that carries its own perils—for magic always has a price, and gods do not come lightly when called.

Keep an eye out for news of the climactic 13th book of the Hollows series.

Kim Harrison is represented by Richard Curtis Associates.



Open Road Integrated Media has acquired E-Reads, it was announced today jointly by E-Reads CEO Richard Curtis and Open Road CEO Jane Friedman.

E-Reads and Open Road, founded ten years apart, share the same passion for the power of digital publishing.

E-Reads was founded in 1999, at the dawn of the digital era. The company is the oldest independent digital publisher in the field and was built to create an ebook market for authors.

Open Road was founded in 2009, just as the ebook market was about to explode. The company was built from the ground up to bring the greats back to life through digital publishing and marketing. Using cutting-edge technology, Open Road connects authors and readers like never before. This is why we are so excited to announce Open Road’s acquisition of E-Reads, uniting the oldest ebook publisher with the largest.

Open Road will bring all of its marketing power to E-Reads’ 1,200+ titles, a majority of which are science fiction and fantasy and also span the romance, mystery, and thriller genres. These incredible books by authors like Dan Simmons, Harlan Ellison, Greg Bear, John Norman, Aaron Elkins, Laura Kinsale, and Ray Garton join Open Road’s more than 4,000 titles, adding to its growing genre list.

See the official announcement below for more information on our exciting news.

Thank you for joining us on the Open Road,

Richard Curtis and Jane Friedman

E-Reads’ 1,200+ Titles to Be Published and Marketed by Open Road,
Uniting Oldest Independent Ebook Publisher with Largest

Superstars Dan Simmons, Harlan Ellison, Greg Bear, John Norman (Science Fiction and Fantasy), Aaron Elkins, Barbara Parker (Mystery),
Laura Kinsale (Romance), and Ray Garton (Horror)
Add to Open Road’s Growing Genre List

(New York, NY, February 10th, 2014) – Open Road Integrated Media, the largest independent ebook publisher, announced today that it has acquired E-Reads, the oldest independent ebook publisher in the field. E-Reads’ more than 1,200 titles, a majority of which are science fiction and fantasy and also span the mystery, thriller, romance, and horror genres, will now be published by Open Road and marketed through the company’s proprietary platform. E-Reads founder Richard Curtis will consult with Open Road during the transition.

“E-Reads has proven to be as successful as I envisioned when I founded the company in 1999,” says Richard Curtis. “However, as I recently surveyed the state of the industry, it became apparent that it was time to seek an alliance with a company with greater resources, particularly in the all-important area of marketing. I am confident that Open Road will afford all of our books the best opportunity to realize their full potential in a competitive, ever-changing, and increasingly crowded marketplace, and I look forward to playing a role in the integration of these two great firms.”

“E-Reads is one of the publishing industry’s pioneering companies, and it shares Open Road’s passion for the digital future,” says Open Road cofounder and CEO Jane Friedman. “Richard Curtis has built an incredible catalog filled with beloved and bestselling authors, and we are excited to welcome them to the Open Road family as we bring all of our resources to connecting them with readers around the world.”

E-Reads’ catalog spans multiple genres, with a focus on science fiction and fantasy authors including Harlan Ellison, Greg Bear, John Norman, Dave Duncan, Dan Simmons, Brian Aldiss, and Robert Sheckley; mystery bestsellers including Aaron Elkins and Barbara Parker; romance star Laura Kinsale; and horror master Ray Garton, who will now join Open Road’s growing list of genre greats.

Open Road launched as a literary publisher (Mary McCarthy, William Styron, Sherman Alexie, Michael Chabon) and has since expanded into additional genres including science fiction and fantasy (Octavia E. Butler, Theodore Sturgeon), mystery (Carl Hiaasen, Dorothy L. Sayers), and romance (Heather Graham, Amanda Scott), among many others.

This acquisition unites the oldest independent ebook publisher in the field with the largest. E-Reads was founded by Richard Curtis in 1999, at the beginning of the ebook era. Open Road Integrated Media, cofounded by Jane Friedman in 2009, published its first ebook in 2010 and has since grown to become the largest independent ebook publisher, with more than 4,000 titles.

Chris Davis, Open Road COO, led the negotiations on behalf of Open Road. Terms of the deal, which is expected to close on April 1, were not disclosed.

After the closing, the E-Reads website will be taken down and its titles will be featured on Open Road’s website (http://www.openroadmedia.com/), with links to all major e-tailers.

About Open Road
Open Road Integrated Media is a digital publisher and multimedia content company. Open Road creates connections between authors and their audiences by marketing its ebooks through a new proprietary online platform, which uses premium video content and social media. Open Road has published ebooks from legendary authors including William Styron, Pat Conroy, Alice Walker, James Jones, and Pearl S. Buck.

About E-Reads
Founded in 1999, at the dawn of the ebook era, E-Reads is the oldest independent digital publisher in the field and an innovative leader in the modern book industry.


“Arguably Very Best Paranormal Series Ever Written” Declares Barnes & Noble Book Blogger

Paul Goat Allen, the influential book blogger for Barnes & Noble, recently listed the twenty best paranormal fantasies of the past decade, and at the very top of the list he placed For a Few Demons More, the fifth novel in Kim Harrison’s Hollows urban fantasy series. What’s more, he declared the series itself , represented by Richard Curtis Associates, “arguably the best paranormal fantasy series ever written.” Below is his full quote. The runners-up include Charlaine Harris and Laurell K. Hamilton.

#1. For a Few Demons More, by Kim Harrison (2007)
The fifth installment of Harrison’s phenomenally popular Hollows saga featuring endearing gray witch Rachel Morgan and company, this novel was the first hardcover release in the series and, at least for me, heralded its ascension to elite series status. With only two novels to go until the series concludes, there is no doubt in my mind that the Hollows saga will go down as arguably the very best paranormal fantasy series ever written.

Details here.

Richard Curtis


Long Before E-Book Revolution, War for Control of E-Rights Was Lost

In 1989 Ben Bova published a science fiction novel entitled Cyberbooks describing an electronic reading device almost identical to the Kindle: “…A gray oblong box about five inches by nine and less than an inch thick. Its front was almost entirely a dark display screen. There was a row of fingertip-sized touchpads beneath the screen.”

Bova’s gadget was very much like the one that had flashed into my mind the moment I laid eyes on a CD-ROM disc in the late 1980s. “What if,” I speculated, “you could insert CD-ROMs containing book texts into a portable light-box and read them on it?”

My concept was laughably crude, for the means of delivering those texts, the Internet, had not yet swept into dominance over worldwide communications. So, I was in the right church but the wrong pew. Still, the vision gripped me and I began to think about the practical aspects of digital technology.

I wasn’t the only one. One day around that time I received a Putnam contract and came across language I had never seen: the publisher had reserved something called “display” rights. I called Phyllis Grann, the head of the company, and asked her what it meant. She said she’d gone to an electronics show and seen the Franklin Bookman, a portable device that contained an electronic edition of the Bible. “I want that,” she told me.

That was the first shot fired by publishers in the battle to seize the e-rights high ground, and it occasioned the article I posted in the Association of Authors’ Representatives Newsletter in spring of 1993. Rereading it, it’s clear that I had as good a handle on what was to come as it was possible given how little we knew at that time. When I served as president of AAR in the mid-‘90s I tried to alert agents to the coming revolution and implement a few safeguards such as a new definition of “out of print,” for the new technology offered an opportunity to draw a precise line below which a publisher’s rights were terminable.


Writing John Carpenter’s “Halloween” Novelization

I happen to have more than a passing acquaintance with Halloween because I was commissioned by Bantam Books to write the paperback tie-in of John Carpenter’s blockbuster movie Halloween under the pen-name of “Curtis Richards.” It was a pretty good novel if I do say so myself. Out of curiosity I checked it out on amazon.com and was gratified to read that one reviewer described it as, “A near classic of its kind.” (Near? Why just near?) If you’re interested in learning how I dealt with the challenge, and the fascinating process of movie, television and game novelizations, read my post called Media Tie-ins – How Do They Work? Here’s an excerpt

“One of the great things about movies is that they move so fast, you don’t have time to think about logic. Novels are a more reflective medium, however; at any time you can put a book down and think about what you’ve read. And it worried me, for instance, that my readers would put my book down and wonder how the hell someone who’d been institutionalized since he was five would know how to drive a car. So I had to concoct a whole chapter describing the fellow’s stay in the asylum (which was okay, since I needed the five thousand words anyway) and showing that because he’d been a model inmate and trusty, he’d been taught to drive a truck and use it to run errands on the asylum grounds.”

Incidentally, I hold an orange belt in pumpkin carving, and above is an example. In the dark you can’t see the bloodstain where my filleting knife penetrated the palm of my left hand.
Richard Curtis
Movies Into Books may be found in a collection of columns by Richard Curtis entitled Mastering the Business of Writing by Richard Curtis

The Attack of the POD People

Pea OD

Richard Curtis, literary agent and founder of E-Reads, the independent ebook publisher, recently posted an article on Digital Book World about print on demand. He was subsequently interviewed about it by GoodeReader.


“E-Reads has been using Lightning Source for its POD services since we began in 2000. LSI is the biggest in the industry, perhaps in the world, in print-on-demand. Because they are a division of Ingram, a book distribution company that has very successfully made the transition from a company that serviced print publishers to a company that now services the digital book industry, we feel that there are advantages to being with LSI that you simply cannot get with any other POD publisher. Among other things, their core source service enables us to reach indie bookstores, a great many of which we could not otherwise reach.”

One aspect of POD that Curtis mentioned in his recent blog post is the prohibitive cost per book when comparing a typical print run of a trade paperback with the cost of printing one title at a time per customer request. Lightning Source has countered that cost in a deal with EPAC, one of the largest POD suppliers in Germany.

“From speaking to executives at LSI and asking if there is any possibility in the future that the costs of producing PODs might come down, they have told me that there are developments that they cannot currently discuss that make them hopeful that the prices will come down.”

But why such a keen interest in print-on-demand? Isn’t the point of digital publishing and the surge in popularity of e-reading related to all the negative things that digital has stripped away, like eliminating paper and ink costs, shipping costs, and wait times to receive new books?

“Many authors want their books available in paper and many readers still want to read books in paper even though they are available in digital format. I’m considered somewhat of a trailblazer in the digital world but I still much prefer to hold a printed book in my hand than to read one on a screen. Even though POD used to represent about 50% of our income in the days when there were no Kindles or Nooks or viable digital readers, POD now represents about 8% of E-Reads revenue, the rest being from digital. Even though POD books are very expensive compared to those printed in the traditional way. A book that might have been $12 to $15 in a traditional print run might cost $20 as a POD, but people are willing to pay it.”

While POD might be a smart move for the indie authors and a certain demographic of readers, whether the publishing industry as a whole will adopt POD as a viable solution remains to be seen.

“I think the industry is being forced into it. The closing of Borders and of so many independent bookstores, the reduction of floor space in bookstore chains like Barnes&Noble, all point to a reduction to the space available to deliver printed books to the consumer on the street. This same segment of the population is going to have to turn to POD. The publishing industry for the last 100 years has distributed its books on a returnable basis. At the beginning of the industry 5-10% of books were returned; now we’re up to as much as 50% of books being returned by bookstores. It’s no longer possible for publishers to sustain 50% returns when POD is an alternative.

“My vision for POD is kind of the Espresso vision, where the Espresso Book Machine will come down in size and complexity to where it will be truly closer to desktop than refrigerator sized. When that happens, you’ll see bookstores with kiosks with thousands of books displayed where you can choose one, but they’re not on a bookshelf, they’re on a screen. You can browse electronically, pick one out, and have a cup of coffee while it prints. It may not be in the immediate future, but I would say within the next ten years you will be able to go into a space and print the book you want. Right now, you have that by simply going on Amazon, but if you prefer the experience of going into a store and browsing for a book that looks interesting, you will see that model evolving. And when someone predicts 10 years, it’s usually five.”

Print-On-Demand: The Future of Publishing? A Talk with Richard Curtis
By Mercy Pilkington


E-Reads Enters Joint Venture with Gollancz for UK Publication of 400 SF E-Book Titles

E-Reads has signed a deal with UK publisher Gollancz to publish e-book editions in the UK and Commonwealth of almost 400 science fiction and fantasy titles as part of Gollancz’s Gateway initiative.

Orion deputy CEO and publisher Malcolm Edwards and Gollancz digital publisher Darren Nash negotiated the deal, which includes works by more than 50 authors, with E-Reads founder and president Richard Curtis and agent Danny Baror of Baror International. Titles by authors such as Greg Bear, Harlan Ellison, James Gunn, Fritz Leiber and George Zebrowski will be published in Gateway editions in 2011.

Deputy CEO and publisher Malcolm Edwards said: “Richard Curtis has been a pioneering figure in e-book publishing in the USA, and E-Reads has acquired rights in a lot of books which were on our wish list for Gateway. I’m therefore delighted that we’ve managed to persuade Richard that we’re able to offer a persuasive plan for selling them in our markets.”

Curtis said: “Though E-Reads has been distributing its e-books in the UK, we felt that our authors would be better served having a British publisher take charge of sales and marketing. And what better publisher than Gollancz, whose amazing fantasy and science fiction list is a perfect fit for our own?”

Gollancz’s Gateway project launched earlier this month, making more than 1,000 titles by authors including Philip K Dick and Arthur C Clarke available as e-books through all major e-retailers.


E-Reads Cuts Prices

Responding to input both from readers and authors, E-Reads has cut list prices for a wide range of selected e-book titles.  Many novels previously priced at $9.99 have been slashed as low as $2.99.  All nonfiction, previously priced at $12.99, will now list at $9.99 or lower.

“After surveying readers and authors and studying creative pricing strategies developed by independent authors, we felt that a drop in price per unit would be balanced by a rise in volume,” said E-Reads CEO Richard Curtis. “The move seems to have worked, as our volume has already risen 10% in the month since the changes took hold. We will continue reviewing and adjusting prices as the market demands.”

E-Reads, founded in 2000, is a leading independent reprinter of previously published books. Its e-books are sold worldwide in the English language at the Kindle, Nook, Sony, Apple, Diesel, Kobo and other retail and library websites, and trade paperbacks at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.


The Real Scroll-Killer

Apropos of our recent posting The Real Kindle Killer