Since 1996: Pioneers in Digital Publishing Clocktower Books launched in 1996 as Clocktower Fiction, the world's first online digital download publisher of book-length, proprietary (not public domain) novels (interpolating from timelines, like this one, which is missing some important milestones including our own launch). We were pioneers during the halcyon genesis days of the World Wide Web, when digital publishing was as yet virgin territory, and wide open to innovation. We were first in history to release entire proprietary novels (in weekly serial chapters, 1996-1997) namely Heartbreaker (SF) and Neon Blue (Suspense), both by John Argo. You can find us mentioned long ago on the Wayback Machine and elsewhere. For a decade, we published what was then the acclaimed (Web's oldest), professional digital SF/F/H magazine (Deep Outside/Far Sector SFFH). We continue to innovate with the same exciting view of the future.
Read-a-Latte. Real e-books are the best deal in town! Buy a John Argo or similar e-book for only the price of a latte, but get many more hours of enjoyment. We offer value at a price that is reasonable and you can afford. Our authors are all professionals with years of experience, and many have Master's and Ph.D. level degrees. Lose yourself in a Clocktower Books story, and put yourself right here in San Diego on a wonderful beach like our friend with the white hat. That window is for looking into magic worlds of imagination and escape.
About Clocktower Books
Quick Start. Clocktower Books, a pioneer in digital book publishing online, launched its first website in April 1996. We acquired the name Clocktower Fiction, and changed it to Clocktower Books around 2000. The in-depth info is still being gathered as we push past our twenty-year anniversary, and you can find out more at the Clocktower Books Museum, a separate website.
We Were First. We were the first to publish proprietary (not public domain) books online to be read online in HTML format, so rule out Gutenberg and other publishers of freely available material. We published entire (not samples or teasers) proprietary novels online to be read online in HTML format (not published on portable media like CD-ROM or floppies). Novels included John Argo's Neon Blue (suspense, 1996), This Shoal of Space (SF, 1996), Pioneers (SF, 1997), and The Generals of October (political thriller, as John T. Cullen, 1998). Furthermore, we used an innovative program of releasing each book in weekly installments, the next chapter launched each Sunday evening PST San Diego, timed to be read by early computer reading enthusiasts arriving for work early Monday morning around the world (Europe, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, North America including USA and Canada), and Asia. It seems hilarious now, but relatively few readers (aside from hardcore tekkies) had PCs at home, so reading online was a guilty pleasure with their morning tea or coffee and at breaktimes (or whenever they could sneak a peek). We printed out some of their rave emails, which are still on hand. Some couldn't wait to read more, so we also provided a TXT download of the whole file. This is before e-commerce.(JTC: I did have my first instance of a novel stolen in 1998, although we unmasked the thief, who found much grief from his peers when revealed in an Austin, TX community where he had passed himself off as a creative writer. We had a similar instance with a short story stolen by a pompous pamplemousse at a leading Canadian literary mag, where he passed himself off yadda yadda same stuff each time; he lost his position and even had to pay a small fine to the author. Slime doesn't pay.).
We Were First Again: Speculative & Dark Fiction. We published the acclaimed web magazine of speculative fiction (Deep Outside SFFH/Far Sector SFFH) which ran 1998-2007. In that decade, we published established authors, including top SFWA officers, and a lot of future stars who won every award in the book (Hugos, Nebulas, Sturgeons, and various top Canadian, British, Australian, etc awards). Authors we published included Dr. Andrew Burt, Pat York, Melanie Tem, Linda Dunn, Kameron Hurley, Tim Pratt, Ted Kosmatka, Joseph D'Lacey, Al Sirois, Deborah Cannon, Dennis Latham, Priscilla Y. O'Brien, and many others. We were so far ahead of the curve that SFWA refused adamantly to give us (and our authors) the recognition that was deserved (and credit for the authors toward professional publication, even as we followed all of SFWA's rules for professional publication. (JTC: I came to refer to us as the Futurians, and SFWA as the Backwardians who refused to accept the future in the form of digital publishing; when money came along from the Science Fiction Channel in 2000, they quickly forgot those notions). We did finally get an article in the SF Encyclopedia from SF historian Mike Ashley that confirms our case.
Heritage Sites. The Clocktower Books Museum includes links to several important heritage websites launched, now frozen, but maintained in their final form by Clocktower Books and its sole proprietor, John T. Cullen. These heritage sites are listed on the landing page of the Museum. They still contain a lot of good reading material.
Old Version of About Info
You may glance at an older About page here if you wish. All the info is now at the Museum, with much more detail, and more being developed for purposes of keeping a true historical record amid the ephemeral nature of the Internet.
Our novels and all of our images and text, including those originally published by John Argo (a pseudonym of Jean-Thomas Cullen, as is his English-language pen name John T. Cullen), are all registered with the U.S. Copyright Office and therefore protected in the U.S.A. and world-wide by the Berne Convention agreements. See the official U.S. Copyright Office website for more info, including statutory penalties (about $150,000 for each violation) for stealing our proprietary works.