There’s something boring about the concept of a reprint only anthology. I know that every year publishers release “best of” collections and the like, but I rarely buy any of them, not because I think the stories in them are bad, but because it has nothing new to offer me except an editor’s opinion about what constitutes “the best” of the year (an opinion I can get just by looking at the table of contents). I like opinions, but the only reason to buy one of these “best of” anthologies, to me, is for the chance to read a lot of fiction that I might not have seen before (maybe because I don’t subscribe to the original publishing venue). Often times, I’ve already seen the stuff.
But reprint-only anthologies in the English market are, to me, a good-intentioned cashing in scheme. Yes, authors get paid again for a story they sold for a crappy price before (even if they sold to a big market), and a publisher gets a great chance to sell a lot of copies of a book filled with stories by previously published authors, folks who have some degree of quality to be inherited. But beyond that, there’s no incentive for me as a consumer to buy a reprint-only anthology, and as a writer I find them rather off putting. Why can’t most reprint anthologies have some new and some old work, like a lot of Strahan’s anthologies? That way as a consumer I get something new, and as a writer I get an opportunity be alongside writers I respect?
Then again, I guess reprint-only anthologies aren’t meant for people like me. I’m the kind of consumer that generally isn’t targeted by such things precisely because I’ve probably already read most of the stuff being reprinted. But, even so, every time I see a call for submissions and realize it’s only for reprints I get a sick feeling in my stomach. Maybe that’s because I don’t have a previously published story to send them; regardless, I rarely buy reprint anthologies for the two reasons alluded to here: 1) it has nothing new to offer me as a reader; and 2) I can’t submit to them.
Does that make me a bad person?