Apr
11
2019

Group Seed: Gunnison Publishing.

Gunnison Publishing

Headquarters: Edison, NJ

Staff: 40

Specializes in: science fiction, fantasy, pastiches

Gunnison Publishing has been in business since 1998.  It’s a privately-owned, medium-sized publisher that specializes in alternate history titles and literary pastiches; Gunnison is probably best known for its Sherlock Reborn and Lovecraft Unleashed series of uncannily true-to-tone pastiches (Sherlock Holmes and the Cthulhu Mythos, respectively).  Gunnison also has a profitable sideline in Osprey-like picture books (called Simurgh Press) of military forces and conflicts, only the titles are all things like “The Second Mexican-American War” or “Napoleon VI’s Soldiers.” Altogether, Gunnison produces about forty or so new titles a year, and maintains an extensive e-library (including a remarkable number of unique works).  

The company is popular enough, but not world-renowned.  Gunnison mostly enjoys a positive reputation for selling good-quality books (in every sense of the word) for very reasonable prices, and with no particular amount of drama.  A bit of mystery, but no drama; very few of Gunnison’s ‘stable’ of authors are available to tour, and it is generally conceded that most of them write anonymously. Or draw anonymously, in the case of Simurgh’s books.  If the company was larger, it would be more noticeable; but as it is, Gunnison services a relatively small but still lucrative niche in genre fiction, and shows no real sign of expanding past that. Besides, the relatively few authors that they do publish under their own names report that Gunnison pays on time, and doesn’t cook the books.  That makes them practically angelic beings, in this business.

…Angels with dirty faces, of course.  Gunnison is not exactly breaking any laws, after all.  If only because nobody’s ever made a law that says that you can’t go to other universes, grab their books, then reprint them back in your home dimension.  Although that is probably more of a technicality, sure — but then, interdimensional scams live and die by the technicality.

And this is one of the good scams.  It’s amazing how you can pare down overhead when you don’t have to pay authors and retain the copyright anyway.  The Sherlock Reborn and Lovecraft Unleashed stories and books, for example? Completely real, in the sense that they were actually written by Arthur Conan Doyle and HP Lovecraft, only in different universes.  Somebody from Gunnison Publishing simply buys copies of them at a convenient alternate bookstore, brings the copies over to their home dimension, and reprints them. It’s a little harder for the Simurgh Press books, because they have to duplicate the artwork; but it’s not too much harder, and Gunnison has excellent scanners these days.  

And, like the best scams, this one doesn’t trigger the radar of the people getting ripped off; in this case because they’re in a different universe and weren’t exactly expecting royalties.  Gunnison Publishing does have to have its senior employees pretend to be the actual authors, for tax purposes; but since nobody’s around to complain about not getting said royalties, there’s no real reason for the IRS to get suspicious.  The income gets reported, and the taxes get paid. The whole scheme is not nearly lucrative enough to make the owners of Gunnison Publishing multi-billionaires, but it is lucrative enough to make them respectable and respected players in the genre publishing industry, with enough left over for a nice lifestyle and a pleasant work environment.  And there’s no reason for any of it to change, either.

Just as long as nobody does anything dumb.

8 Comments

  • Rockphed says:

    “Just as long as nobody does anything dumb.” I can feel an adventure welling up around that. Something along the lines of printing a children’s book that includes details about a weapon that the local government deems worthy of classification while the alternate government decided to declassify them 40 years ago.

  • junior says:

    Thing is, let’s say that the truth does come out.

    So what? Do the various world governments of Gunnison Publishing’s planet have copyright agreements with the world governments where the material originates from? Because if not, then no laws were broken, and no crimes were committed. There are ethical issues at play. But nothing criminal.

    Now if certain people want to make it criminal, then there are ways of causing that to happen. Said ways would involve the aforementioned copyright agreements. But until that happens…

    Of course, the real problem is what happens when the stories of that world’s Sir Arthur Conan Doyle continue to sell well under the Gunnison Publishing imprint, but start to plummet in popularity on the author’s world. Gunnison might need to weigh whether it’d be worth it to step in and financially support the author in such a case.

    • Moe_Lane says:

      Ooh, that’s a good one. How do you get a royalty check to somebody in another universe?

      • Towering Barbarian says:

        Perhaps by buying gold in your native universe, taking it to your target universe and selling it there and then using that money to open a bank account in the target universe and using that account to write the check? o_O

        Gunnison’s obviously got the problem already partly solved to judge by the fact that they can buy copies of books at alternate bookstores. That suggests they’ve already got the “How do you interact with the local economy without being spotted as an outsider?” part down pat. ^_^

        • acat says:

          .. except some governments *really frown on* people walking in with blocks of gold .. and want to tax them ..
          .
          Mew

          • junior says:

            If that’s a problem, then you use a different commodity – preferably one that’s cheap in your home universe, but expensive in your target universe. There’s gotta be something that’s legal to dump on the market.

  • Jon says:

    There’s a series (I’m blanking on the author or title at the moment) that has a library which collects alternate book versions, rather than publishing them. It’s a fantasy setting rather than magic. I’ll find one of the books at home and reply to my own comment.

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