Black Library Weekly – W/C 27/03/17

Hello and welcome to another instalment of Black Library Weekly, my regular look at what’s been happening in the world of Black Library. It’s been an interesting week, with March of the Titans continuing for the weekend’s big release but replaced for Digital Monday, and changes taking place midweek with the Black Library website. As always, let’s start at the beginning…

Monday
I’d expected to see another Adeptus Titanicus story on Monday, but nope – last week’s Hunting Ground by Ian St. Martin was the final March of the Titans short story. Don’t worry though, this week provided something (in my opinion, at least) even better – a new Blood Bowl short story! A Last Sniff of Glory saw David Guymer draw upon his love of all things Skaven to deliver a story that was pretty much The Wrestler, only with a knackered Skaven Blood Bowl player instead of Mickey Rourke. For £2.49 – it’s a steal!

Midweek
This week seemed to be all about confounding my expectations – I’d looked back at previous months to see when the Coming Soon section of the Black Library website had been updated, and the pattern had seemed to suggest it would happen this Wednesday. Nope*. Instead, Wednesday saw the Warhammer Digital side of things spun off into its own website (warhammerdigital.com if you’re interested), with blacklibrary.com now dedicated exclusively to the fiction side of things.

*Well…it did look at one point on Friday as though July’s releases were going live, but they soon disappeared. More on this a bit later on…

The advance notice for the change promised improvements to the user interface, along with offers and promotions available to celebrate the new site. To be honest I thought the physical changes to the site fell a bit flat, though. The only real visual change was the introduction of icons to reflect which formats each title is available in – they’re clear enough, but I don’t think they add a vast amount of benefit and I’d actually say that they rather clutter things up. Other changes were pretty subtle, things like a Series page that lists out the different ranges from the Horus Heresy down to things like Necromunda, or the different graphic novels available. Useful enough, but not groundbreaking.

As for offers, there was nothing massive – but quite a lot of decent discounts, along with the first Black Library-related Humble Bundle. I’ve written up all the different offers in a post here, if you fancy taking a look through everything that’s available. Perhaps my personal favourites among the offers involved the publication of the two great short stories that were in the Black Library Live! 2016 chapbook – A Memory of Tharsis by Josh Reynolds and Argent by Chris Wraight. Reynolds’ story is available to purchase for the usual £2.49 but comes free if you buy his novel Fabius Bile: Primogenitor, while Wraight’s Argent is available for a bargain 99p – presumably these are for a limited time only, so get them while the offers are live!

The other news from midweek was another Titan-themed countdown, this time in the run in to the official release of David Annandale’s Warlord: Fury of the God-Machine. As with Dan Abnett’s Titanicus re-release, each day there was a little snippet from the author talking about a specific element of the book. I’m not sure this will have done a huge amount to hype the book any further, but it was interesting at least.

Weekend
For the first time in a while, the weekend saw the release of just a single title – the aforementioned Warlord: Fury of the God-Machine from David Annandale. For some reason the limited edition hardback was actually released on Friday, even though it doesn’t look like it’s being dispatched for another day or two – it’s done pretty well, with fewer than 400 copies remaining as I write this (out of 1,250), which for a book costing £40 isn’t bad at all! The standard editions were then released on Saturday, in the usual three formats – hardback (£18), ebook (£9.99) and MP3 (£29.99).

I’m certainly looking forward to reading this – I enjoyed the prequel short story Gates of the Devourer when that was released back in 2016, and I succumbed to the lure of the beautiful LE hardback. It does seem odd that it’s the only new release for the weekend though – no paperback or standard hardback re-releases, no gallery prints or anything else.

Thoughts on the week
For me it’s felt like a bit of a strange one this week, sort of like a reorganisation for Black Library before they hopefully move onwards and upwards from here. I can’t say I’m especially impressed by the ‘upgraded’ website, although I completely see the benefit for Games Workshop of splitting out Black Library and Warhammer Digital into separate domains. I do approve of releasing the two stories from the event-only chapbook though, as they deserve to be made as widely available as possible.

As for the other two releases – I’m ALWAYS in favour of new Blood Bowl content, so that’s good in my book, and Warlord is looking cool. I can’t help feeling like it would have been nice to have just one more interesting release this week, maybe some sort of surprise release to accompany the website changes. It just feels like a bit of a wasted opportunity, really. I’m nitpicking I guess, but hey.

Coming up…
I’m expecting the new Genestealer Cults novel by CL Werner – Cult of the Warmason – to be next week’s big release. Personally I’d be massively in favour of an accompanying short story dropping for Digital Monday, so we’ll see if that happens. If this is even half as good as Peter Fehervari’s (sadly boringly-titled) Genestealer Cults was – which I’m hopeful it will be, given CL Werner’s track record – it should be great!

I’m expecting the Coming Soon section of the BL website to be update next week as well, given that it didn’t happen this week. Well…the eagle-eyed among you might have spotted that July’s titles did appear briefly on the BL website, but then just as quickly disappeared again. Sounds familiar – this tends to happen every few months. I grabbed a quick look while they were live, and the lineup for July looks to be The Horusian Wars: Resurrection by John French, Farsight by Phil Kelly, the standard hardback/ebook of Perturabo: Hammer of Olympia by Guy Haley, and the limited edition of Lorgar: Bearer of the Word by Gav Thorpe. That looks like a good haul to me!

As always, if you’ve got any thoughts on the week’s news and releases please do give me a shout to let me know!

5 comments

  1. Oooh! thanks for the July early heads-up 🙂

    Whilst trying to establish if ‘Horusian Wars’ was HH specific, I found on google that you’d already revealed this book was on its way last year!

    [http://www.trackofwords.com/2016/10/30/upcoming-black-library-releases-as-of-octobernovember-2016/]

    Any more months-in-advance scoops you’ve found out about?? 🙂 🙂

    I also wondered your source for the Primarchs novel “The Palatine Phoenix”‘s full title, listed on your HH reviews page; clearly there are places I need to be keeping up to date with that I’m currently not aware of!

    Thanks 🙂

    I was happier with the new look site than yourself; the series pages are very helpful (trying to search for ‘Space Marine Battles’ previously brought up hundreds of results that were decidedly not SMBs), and – being someone who is only interesting in physical not ebooks – I find seeing the type immediately more helpful than having to click into each individual product (only to be disappointed more often than not). I agree there could’ve been more of a bang to the unveiling though, a surprise new release like you suggested.

    1. Yep, as Eugene points out, the Fulgrim book is showing up on Amazon with its full title. If I remember right I picked the title up at a Black Library event earlier in the year – they’re great for getting the advance news! Otherwise it’s just about keeping your ear to the ground, so to speak 🙂

      That’s good feedback about the new site – I’ve been following these books for a long time and I’m pretty familiar with what’s in each series, but I can see how helpful that page must be if you’re not sure which books fit where. Who knows – maybe the site will continue to develop in time. I hope it does!

    1. I’m not quite sure what to think about the ‘relaunch’, to be honest. In my opinion the SMB series has been getting better over the last year or so, and I’ve been increasingly enjoying the more recent releases…so I don’t personally see an obvious need for changing anything. It’s going to be interesting to see what form the relaunch takes, that’s for sure…

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