Sf book clubs were started in both the UK and the USA at roughly the same time (c1953). The UK version was owned in its early years by Sidgwick \& Jackson, then by Dent as part of that company's Readers' Union group ofbook clubs, and finally by David \& Charles, who bought the Readers' Union group in the 1970s. David \& Charles's management, which contained no sf enthusiasts, was apathetic towards the SFBC, which later became subject to competition from Encounters, a book club aggressively promoted by the larger group Book Club Associates. Even before the death in 1982 of its freelance consultant Edmund COOPER, the editorless UK SFBC was slowly petering out, despite part- and spare-time efforts by one Readers' Union employee, Paul G. Begg, to keep it alive; it died altogether some time after Begg left the company.The US SFBC, by contrast, has had a history of continuity. It is published by Nelson Doubleday, Inc., an associate of, but distinct from, DOUBLEDAY, whose differing imprint is Doubleday \& Company, Inc. In 1986 the US SFBC was sold, along with Doubleday, to theGerman company Bertelsmann. The US club is far larger than the UK club ever was, offers a very much broader selection, publishes its own editions (including special hardcover editions of paperback originals) and createsbooks - omnibuses of various sorts - especially for its members. (The UK club normally presented no more than one title per month, reprinted cheaply on cheap paper and with a cheap binding and cover.) The US SFBC has been a major force in sf publishing.

Science Fiction and Fantasy Encyclopedia. . 2011.

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