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Some books aren't in the Hugo voter packet

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A couple months ago, I recommended buying a supporting WorldCon membership as a relatively inexpensive way to (a) participate in the Hugo voting process while (b) getting free copies of most of the nominated works.

Unfortunately, one publisher chose not to include their three nominated novels in this year's Hugo voter packet.

I'm very disappointed. They're of course entirely within their rights to make that choice, but I feel that the availability of most of the nominated works in the voter packet in recent years has been good for the field. I particularly feel that it's been good for the Hugos; I'm pretty convinced that the huge upswing in the number of people nominating and voting in the past few years has been largely due to the packets providing free books to members.

I apologize to anyone who bought a supporting membership on my recommendation with the expectation that they would get copies of all of the relevant novels. I'm especially sorry that I didn't recommend waiting until the packet came out, and that I didn't more explicitly say that the rightsholders might decide not to include various works. That's always been true, but I think this is the first time since the inception of the packet that the majority of the novels weren't made available; I wasn't expecting that, so I neglected to warn about the possibility.

So if any of you are in that situation (bought a membership before the packet was released, on my recommendation, expecting to get the novels in the packet), let me know. I will happily buy you ebook copies of any or all of the three novels in question (Ancillary Justice, Neptune's Brood, and Parasite). (I know that a couple of you bought memberships on my recommendation, but I'm not sure how many people did. For now, I'll limit this offer to the first ten people in this situation who contact me.)

I'm sorry not to have posted this sooner; I realize that time is pretty short at this point. (Hugo votes are due at the end of this month.) But I figure it's still possible that some of you haven't read the non-included novels yet, so it's still worth offering.


While I'm here, I may as well reply to a couple of comments I've seen on this topic:

I've seen some people say that the publisher is being dumb because the value of being able to say a book is a Hugo winner is obviously greater than the cost of giving away a few thousand free copies of the book. But I think I've heard in the past that labeling a book as a Hugo winner doesn't necessarily have much effect on sales. Regardless, I would guess that the publisher made some predictions and ran some numbers and made a choice that seemed to make financial sense to them, much as I wish they'd chosen otherwise.

I've also seen people say that the publisher is being dumb because not including a given work reduces the likelihood of its winning. I don't think that's accurate either—I haven't done detailed research, but I seem to recall that there've been a couple of times that a work that wasn't included in the packet has won a Hugo. That may be less likely these days than it used to be, with the recent increases both in membership and in interest in reading ebooks; but even so, I think it's not obvious or clear that leaving something out of the packet makes it less likely to win.

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