Doubleday

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US general publisher which in the 1950s was one of the first US hardcover houses to institute an sf line, an early title being Pebble in the Sky (1950), which was Isaac Asimov's first novel. (The Doubleday imprint, Doubleday and Company, Inc, should not be confused with that of their associated company, Nelson Doubleday, Inc, publishers of the US Science Fiction Book Club.) Once the Doubleday line was established it published about 30 titles a year, its authors in due course including many who at the time were comparatively unknown, such as George Alec Effinger, Octavia Butler, John Crowley, M John Harrison, Stephen King, Josephine Saxton and Kate Wilhelm. Doubleday also published many established authors, some of whom had previously published mainly in paperback: they included Avram Davidson, Philip K Dick, Harry Harrison, Robert A Heinlein, C M Kornbluth, Barry Malzberg, Bob Shaw and Roger Zelazny. Doubleday's anthology series have included Chrysalis, Hugo Winners (see Hugo Anthologies), Universe and Nebula Award Stories (see Nebula; Nebula Anthologies).

Doubleday was both loved and loathed by sf authors: loved because it was a reliable market unafraid to take risks with innovative material that was not obviously commercial, loathed because its advances were small, its book production often cheap, and its book promotion negligible. In 1981 Doubleday (whose sf editor for the difficult years 1977-1989 was Pat LoBrutto) halved the size of the list. In 1986 it and associated companies, including Dell/Delacorte and the Science Fiction Book Club (but not the New York Mets) were sold for $475 million to the German company Bertelsmann, which already owned Bantam Books and which thereby became one of the largest sf/fantasy publishers in the USA, with around 170 titles a year.

In 1987 the old Doubleday line was revamped, the imprint now being called Doubleday Foundation after Isaac Asimov's Foundation books (they had not initially been published by Doubleday, but Asimov had treated the firm as his main publisher from 1950, and remained faithful to it until his death). The new list was very much more consciously innovative than its predecessors, and ambitious novels by authors like Dan Simmons and Sheri S Tepper soon began to appear; books under this imprint often went on to be paperbacked by Bantam Spectra. During 1991, however, Doubleday Foundation was merged into Bantam Spectra, and the Doubleday name ceased to be relevant to sf publishing. [PN]

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