In 2011, Hugh Howey originally self-published the first entry in the Wool series as a short story e-book through Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing. After the stand-alone story grew in popularity and Howey expanded the Wool series into five books and added two sequel series (Shift is out now, Dust is rumored for October), Simon & Schuster acquired a print-only deal and released this paperback omnibus last month. Wool’s move from being digitally self-published to a traditional release with the author maintaining the digital rights has raised quite a few eyebrows. But writing a popular and damn good story has its perks. The series takes place in a post-apocalyptic world where the population lives underground in a giant silo. Howey keeps things simple, relying on strong characters facing tough choices in a unique setting. The silo itself manages to seem claustrophobic and confining while expansive and diverse. Characters traveling from one end of the silo to the other face more than a day’s journey, and Howey uses this mental and physical taxation to affect and represent characterization, plot and social structure. The story unfolds with wonderful twists—many surprising, few predictable—but Howey never lets his themes bury the human element. Wool is an addictive series that proves that it’s content, and not format, that is the key to a great read.