Hard Case Crime in trouble?

44 - Somebody Owes Me Money by Donald Westlake

Is Hard Case Crime in trouble? I doubt it, and I hope not. However, Nathan Cain at Independent Crime is concerned:

And I can’t help but feel that the latest Hard Case newsletter has sort of buried the lede. Down toward the bottom…[publisher Charles] Ardai announces that Hard Case is going to go to bimonthly publication instead of monthly. He tries to spin, saying it will provide time to drum up more interest and allow readers to get to the books, but the message between the lines is, “If you like these books buy more of them. Times are tough all around, but they’re still half the price of movie ticket.”

There are two reasons that I’m not (yet) worried, despite the tough economic times.

First, Hard Case Crime recently launched a seperate line of pulp fiction novels, The Adventures of Gabriel Hunt. The launch of a new line of books doesn’t look to me like the behavior of a company in trouble.

Second–well, let’s start by quoting that newsletter:

We’ve heard from some of you that the book-a-month schedule has left you with a pile of our books you haven’t gotten to yet…and it can be hard to get each book the attention it deserves when there’s always another coming just four weeks later.

This may strike you as spin, as it strikes Mr. Cain, but it doesn’t strike me that way. The reason for this is that I have the same complaint about Hard Case Crime. Like most of you, I read quite a bit. I try to read quite a bit that isn’t crime fiction, and I try to read quite a bit of crime fiction that isn’t Hard Case Crime. The monthly schedule makes it impossible for me to keep up with their wonderful books.

Currently, I’m about thirty books behind. When I get the latest book in the mail (I subscribe), I think “Cool cover art!” and then file it on my shelf. I would much rather tear into it immediately, but when I do, that means there’s an older title out there that I can’t get to even though I’ve had it for months or even years.

For these reasons, I suspect that Hard Case Crime is just fine. But just to be on the safe side, go buy one of their titles today and support this great imprint. Or better yet, subscribe.

And if the Hard Case Crime people happen to read this, add me to the list of people who applaud the new publishing schedule.