Black Library Weekly – W/C 03/10/16

Hello and welcome to another instalment of Black Library Weekly, where I take a look at the Black Library-related news from the preceding week – announcements, pre-orders and new releases.

After a few pretty quiet weeks we were due something explosive, and that’s exactly what we got last week. If you remember the good old days when Black Library used to put books up for pre-order well in advance, and talk about what’s coming up…you’ll be happy now!

First up as always was a Digital Monday Quick Read – this time it was Massacre by Aaron Dembski-Bowden, a Horus Heresy short story featuring the members of First Claw, who will be familiar to anyone that’s read Aaron’s Night Lords trilogy. Priced at what seems to be the standard £2.49 for all short stories at the moment, it’s somewhere between a 1,000 word micro-short and a (dare I say) ‘standard’ 6-10,000 word short story. It’s worth it though, as this is a cracker of a story.

If you’re thinking the title or synopsis sounds familiar, this story was originally released in several small chunks on the Black Library newsfeed back when Warhammer: The App was first launched.

Early on Wednesday morning the internet was awash with excited 40k and Heresy fans as a whole tranche of upcoming releases suddenly appeared on the Black Library website. They promptly disappeared again for a few hours, but by the end of the day it was clear that a brave new dawn had broken – the Black Library website had a Coming Soon section once more!

Split out by month running up to January, with upcoming October and November releases already available to pre-order, it was as clear a sign as any that Black Library is making a deliberate effort to return to the effective, customer-friendly processes of old. There was nothing Age of Sigmar related, but for 40k and Heresy fans it was like the motherload – both of the remaining The Beast Arises books, three Primarchs titles in various formats, a new Limited Edition Heresy novella, and two new series starting with gorgeous Limited Edition options…and that’s only scratching the surface.

Pricing-wise the newly announced titles range from £9.99 for various ebook and MP3 editions up to £50 for a collection of Blood Bowl novels in hardback. There’s also not one but five Limited Editions at £40 each, plus a £35 Heresy (short) novel. If you prefer to wait for paperback editions however, it’s worth noting that none of these new titles are paperbacks – presumably those will still continue to come out, but aren’t deemed exciting enough to get a listing just yet. The December and January releases don’t yet have full pricing details or release dates, but the October and November titles have got complete details. It’s an exciting time for new books, albeit a potentially expensive one!

Quietly showing up alongside all the exciting new titles, Warhammer: The End Times Collection also appeared back on the website at a reduced price, for two weeks only. Linked by the release of the Vermintide computer game, this bundles up the five End Times novels (as ebooks) for £29.99 which is a saving of almost £20. If you don’t have these already, now’s a good time to get stuck in!

After all the excitement of the week, Saturday saw two of the newly-announced titles released. First up we got the expected release of Shadow of Ullanor by Rob Sanders, which is The Beast Arises book eleven – it’s available in the usual ebook (£9.99), hardback (£12.99) and MP3 (£19.99) formats. We also got the ‘standard’ release of David Annandale’s Roboute Guilliman: Lord of Ultramar, which is the first (short) novel in the Primarchs series.

We’re now only one book away from the end of The Beast Arises, while the Primarchs series is starting to properly kick off. Most fans will probably have been waiting for this ‘standard’ edition rather than forking out £40 for the posh LE when it came out a few months ago – with the next two already on the website, and two of the following books in the series mentioned online (Guy Haley has written the Perturabo story while a Gav Thorpe is going to write the Lorgar one), things are hotting up.

Thoughts on the week
There’s no doubt, the week was dominated by all of the new titles that were announced on Wednesday. The addition of a Coming Soon page to the Black Library website is a huge step forward (or at least, a step back in line with how things used to be) and seems to have been received almost entirely favourably. The fact that all of October and November’s releases are available for pre-order, including Limited Editions, is an interesting move however – there’s not been the usual song and dance about the expensive LE versions that we’re used to.

Only time will tell whether this signals a genuine change in release strategy for Black Library, but the two books already available to buy have been removed from October’s Coming Soon section so it looks so far to be something that’s going to be updated each week. It will certainly be interesting to see whether a February section appears in a few weeks.

As for the actual releases last week, there should be plenty to appeal to most 40k and Heresy fans. Curiously though Age of Sigmar has been very quiet of late with not a single release since early August, so it’s going to be interesting to see how long the 40k/Heresy theme continues before AoS starts back up again.

It looks like Guy Haley’s new novel Shadowsword is the next book to be released, alongside a hardback edition of Baneblade – that’s what we’ve got to look forward to immediately, along with any surprises that Black Library have got in store for us.

As always, if you’ve got any thoughts, comments or questions – just let me know.

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