Hard Case Crime’s printer and distributor, Dorchester Publishing, isn’t quite shutting its doors, but it is going to a purely e-book and print-on-demand format. This is unfortunate, to say the least. In addition to mailing me the newest Hard Case Crime novel upon release through their wonderful book club, they were unfailingly polite and extraordinarily responsive the couple of times I had to deal with their customer service department. This is bad news, and I wish the best to those employees who I assume are losing their jobs.
What does this mean for Hard Case Crime? Publisher Charles Ardai promises that the imprint will continue. Titles #67 and #68 will be coming out but are delayed until next year.
The information in the above two paragraphs is drawn from the Hard Case Crime newsletter (in its entirety below the fold). The second paragraph may sound like wishful thinking, but it’s apparently not. Via Bill Crider is the following from Subterranean Press:
We’re pleased to announce that we’ve just reached agreement to publish an exclusive Hard Case Crime volume, which will also be the first in the series to debut in hardcover. Volume #69 will resurrect a pair of early Lawrence Block novels: 69 Barrow Street and Strange Embrace, bound back to back in the classic “doubles” format, featuring brand new art by Robert McGinnis. You can look for more details, including ordering info, later this year, with a projected publication date in the first half of 2011.
(Subterranean Press will also be bringing us the Block/Westlake sleaze omnibus Hellcats and Honeygirls in October.)
Subterranean Press is unlikely to be placing these novels in major chain booksellers, so if you want 69 Barrow Street and Strange Embrace–and you should!–you’ll probably have to order it. Please don’t forget. (I’ll be reminding you.)
I promote Hard Case Crime here so often, some of you must wonder if I’m on their payroll. I’m not. I don’t get promotional copies either–I’ve purchased every single Hard Case Crime book I own, which is all of them.
Many of you know how hard it was to get the Parker books for many, many years. Obviously, there are lots of people who like the Parker books. However, there didn’t seem to be enough to keep them in print and available to the general public. Mysterious Press reprinted several of them but could not generate enough interest to make it past The Jugger, despite the release of Payback and Stark’s revival of the character in Comeback and its follow-ups.
Not enough people were on board. I’m convinced that enough people would have been on board had the books been publicized better. And I don’t just mean by the publishing company. It’s our job as readers and fans to publicize as well. If we don’t? Well, we might just end up paying $100 or more for a used copy of Butcher’s Moon and owning a book that it’s impossible to discuss with others because no one we know will have read it or can read it.
Hard Case Crime is doing crime fiction fans a tremendous service by bringing these books back into print. Buy them, read them, tell your friends about them. Get them into multiple printings. Don’t let them vanish, like the Parker books did for so long. And help to assure that Hard Case Crime is able to continue doing the great work it is doing.
Full text of the 8/8/10 Hard Case Crime newsletter below the fold.
Continue reading What’s going on with Hard Case Crime?