Bit of a bumper reveal here – Fortress and Air Vanguard. I felt a bit bad just leaving you with two books for each so I bunched them together.  

AVG 22: USN McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II (March 2016)

AVG 19: Mitsubishi A6M Zero (September 2016)

FOR 110: Forts of the American Revolution 1775-83 (June 2016)

FOR ???: The Hindenburg Line (October 2016)

Next week sees the last of our series books. It's one of the big ones. Watch this space!

Post Comments

Paintybeard posted on 4 Sep 2015 11:49:03
I have complete confidence in your silver-tongued persuasiveness, OspreyRich. So I shall be looking out for at least few more Battle Orders in the not-too-distant future.

And yes! A kickstater! I would be delighted to put in money to see the publication of a few books on the less obvious armies and battles that we all keep begging for.
OspreyRich posted on 3 Sep 2015 11:46:00
Hi KenA
I think you hit the nail on the head with ‘well, they know what they like to read and buy and that is really what it is all about isn’t it?’ It is. Which is why looking at sales numbers for titles is often the decider (not always though). You may have noticed some min-trends or obsessions over the years. That is us doing more of what works. Until it doesn’t. I’m afraid some of the things you like to read aren’t as popular with others. However we are thinking about this. We are in the early stages at looking at a crowdfunding solution to attempt to get closer to the ideal of genuine customer selection of new titles. There are never enough hours in the day but we’ll get there.
I’m interested in which raids you think we have missed? I’ll prepare myself for a huge list!
Hi Paintybeard
Never say never but we have no current plans to bring it back. Having said that I’m just off to suggest it to the Editorial team…
KenA posted on 3 Sep 2015 00:36:17
Many thanks OspreyRich for taking the time out to reply to our points and frustrations. I hate to see series that I enjoy getting into difficulties and I’m pleased that AVG and RAID have been given a break rather than been cut entirely. What really, really worries me though is whether a strong RAID topic, with potentially high reader interest, will be recognised as such by Osprey and be proceeded with.

It doesn’t surprise me that Osprey gets contradictory messages from authors, distributors and readers (the customers). Authors have their own particular interests that they tend to follow; distributors have sales figures and imaginations; and readers (the customers) - well, they know what they like to read and buy and that is really what it is all about isn’t it?

The decisions on AVG and RAID titles in recent years have, for one reason or another, not been “in tune” with Osprey’s readership. The fault does not lie with the readership but rather with the selection of titles. Maybe in future the Osprey Team needs to look at prospective titles from a different slant than previously because in the past it has not gelled enough with readers to generate sufficient sales.

I’d like to finish off by making a suggestion to Osprey to have a little look (maybe a big look) at what the competition is doing. I think it a good idea to see what others are up to in order to ensure that you remain “up to the mark”. Recently I received Osprey’s Avro Lancaster (AVG 21). For comparative purposes I also got Lorenz Books’ Avro Lancaster by Mike Spick. Both are 64 pages in length, the Lorenz version is hardback and is in smaller type, only Osprey has colour illustrations, both have many B&W photos (Lorenz over 100), Osprey has more content on technical specifications, Lorenz has much more content on operational history, both have a cutaway diagram of the aircraft (Osprey’s is in colour, while Lorenz’s is in B&W but is extremely detailed). So, what did I prefer in terms of the information provided? I hate to say it but Lorenz wins. When you buy a book about an aircraft you want to know something about its origins and technical specifications, but especially details about its operational history and how it has performed.
Paintybeard posted on 2 Sep 2015 17:51:32
Thank you for replying to our ramblings, OspreyRich. And very glad to hear that military history will remain the core of Ospreys business plan.

Also very pleased to hear that various series will be rested rather than entirely shut down. So might I plead for "Battle Order" to come out of retirement? I would have thought books on the Army of North Virginia, The Potomac, Franco-Prussian War and similar subjects would suit the format nicely and find a ready market.
OspreyRich posted on 2 Sep 2015 12:27:13
Hi everyone,

I’m now going to attempt to answer all the points above to the best of my ability.

Air Vanguard has not worked out as well as we would have liked. There are a lot of decisions to be made when launching a new series, including ‘how many do you launch with?’ and ‘what subjects do you start with, niche or broad?’ and over the years we have tried a variety of combinations. None of them work every time – there are so many moving parts in a very diverse and ever changing market that sometimes they just don’t work.

However we always spend a tremendous amount of time trying to work out what has gone wrong and why. The feedback we get back, from you gentlemen, from our distributors or from authors is often mixed and contradictory. So obvious answers tend not to exist. At the end of the day when they don’t sell we do fewer of them.

Having said that, over recent years we’ve rested series rather than killed them, Fortress being the best example of this. A few years back it had seemed to have run its course and we prepared to call it a day. However we decided not to completely pull the trigger, gave it a break and are now, tentatively bringing it back. If it works we’ll keep going.

I’m hopeful we can do the same with Air Vanguard.

Raid has been a bit of a slightly under-performing mixed bag. Again it will be rested, if a really strong topic comes up we’ll take it with a view to it coming back.

The big thing to mention is that the success of Osprey Games and Adventures does not mean we are winding up the military history. We have two and half Editorial people on the former, eight and a half on the latter. The growth of Games is not at the expense of the military books at all. In fact, across series and generals we are doing more than we’ve ever done!
AdamC posted on 31 Aug 2015 17:10:13
I'm afraid I have to echo some of the dissatisfaction of other commentors here guys! Theres nothing wrong with the four titles as such and I can understand only two Fortress titles but for AVG to only have two is a bit scandalous isn't it??? I agree that Osprey really ought to clarify the future of this series!!!
KenA posted on 30 Aug 2015 00:23:44
Well, maybe it’s about time that Osprey came out and stated what exactly its policy and future direction is with respect to the various genre and book series. I for one do not want to continue putting my energies into submissions into areas where Osprey is going to simply ignore them.

Further, I am strongly of the view that where a series has failed to live up to expectations, the fault does not lie with the authors or the readership. I have been absolutely amazed by some of the book selection decisions made by Osprey. It was no surprise to me, for example, that AVG ran into trouble. And with the Raid series it has been so obvious that Osprey has been scratching around for US raids and effectively overlooking many other countries’ efforts in this regard.

The Osprey Team need to do some soul searching or they are going to lose some of their long held customers.
Paintybeard posted on 29 Aug 2015 15:45:02
Expanding my worries further I greatly fear that Osprey are starting to wind down their emphasis on military history generally and concentrate their efforts on the games market. They have achieved notable successes with "Bolt Action" and "Frostgave" and I think that this is going to be where the majority of their plans may be directed in the future. I feel that this would be a mistake. The gaming market is a very crowded and fickle place, with many casualties. It would be a great pity if Osprey sacrificed their very solid position in the military history publishing hierarchy chasing ephemeral opportunities in unproven territory.
FJ-1973 posted on 29 Aug 2015 13:42:45
Also I wondering about Air Vanguard, and why not put them in the New Vanguard serie (or a Land Vanguard and Water Vanguard). And once upon a time there was also one that was only "Vanguard". Think little confusing for the buyers... But good choice for this two.

But I really like Fortress is back! Onle two, but I was afraid for nothing. Good topics but that not really my biggest interest, but maybe buy this to give my Commercial support for Fortress to publish more.
PAUL W posted on 29 Aug 2015 10:22:33
I fear the worst for RAID, the implication is that there is only one reveal left and that is CAM. I also agree the essential histories were a great series and if you pardon the pun, essential! There are plenty of topics left. Two good fortress titles but had hoped for more.
KenA posted on 28 Aug 2015 09:44:41
Well there. That hasn’t taken long has it? The first AVG titles came out in 2012 and now here we are four years later with Osprey phasing the series out. Six AVG titles this year, two next year. The selection of aircraft (with its heavy US bias) for this series has for me always been a major drawback. Otherwise the books themselves are good. An explanation from Osprey about its intentions with respect to this series would, I submit, be a good idea in the circumstances.

Good to see The Hindenburg Line feature on the list for next year.

By my count Pete you have TWO of Osprey’s regular series books still to go and this is also indicated by the two sets of question marks remaining at the top of your Blog. So yes we are looking forward to your Big Reveal of Campaign titles (some of which we already know about) but the one we are really, really, really looking forward to is the Big Reveal of RAID titles, which Osprey has withheld from everyone (including online book retailers) to date. Bring on the RAIDs.
ASM posted on 28 Aug 2015 08:50:09
I can understand that you feel bad. AVG is totally dead in the water. The series was launched under big fanfare but never really took off from the runway.

The books themselves are great but in my opinion the series suffered from two misjudgements from the beginning: 1. Too few books were released in its first years. 2. The choice of subjects was generally too conservative from the start. All in all a sad mishandling of a great potential.

An other thing: Please bring Essential Histories back to life. I simply love that series. It educates me and I feel I need it...
Paintybeard posted on 28 Aug 2015 08:42:08
A little disappointed that there will only be 2 Fortress titles next year, but very pleased that one of them is about The Hindenburg Line.

Is there any chance of a similar "reveal" about what 2016 might bring us in the General Military series? I'm especially interested in news about Mr Buttars last book in his WW1 trilogy.

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