We appreciate that some Hugo voters might be disappointed that the entire novels will not be available in the packet, and we would like to offer a word of explanation.
We are of course very much in favour of initiatives that help readers to engage with important awards, and we are always looking for new ways to help readers discover new authors. However, in the case of the voter packets, authors and rights holders are increasingly feeling that if their work is not included in the packet it will be at a disadvantage in the awards. It’s difficult for anyone to know for certain whether this is the case, but either way we don’t feel that authors and rights holders should feel under pressure to make their work available for free. There are a lot of different attitudes to the idea of giving work away for free, but we hope most people would agree that writers and rights holders should be able to make their own choice, without feeling that their decision might have negative consequences.
We would like to make it clear that this was our decision, and not one requested by any of our authors. It is a complex issue, with many different perspectives and opinions, and we believe that we are acting in the best interests of our authors while continuing to support the voter packet.
Going forward, we very much hope that awards administrators give careful consideration to voter packets, particularly in those categories in which shortlisted works are already widely available, and that they continue to look for new ways to encourage participation in awards.
Predictably, there was some fannish outrage (or one of two emoticons that these people express online, the other being squeeing, or so it seems to this jaded observer):