Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Hard Times for Hard Case

The title of this post probably isn't accurate. It ought to say tough times for Dorchester, since it's Dorchester publishing, the company that's been putting out Hard Case Crime, that's dropping mass market paperbacks in favor of electronic publishing paired with print on demand for certain titles. "Hard Times for Dorchester" isn't alliterative, though, so screw it.

As a long time member of the Hard Case Crime book club, I was surprised when I read this news last week, as I had just received my copy of Murder Is My Business in the mail along with a new Dorchester catalog, which made no mention of the switch as far as I can remember. (I threw it out, so I can't go back and check). After Hard Case's earlier decision to scale back in the face of the economic difficulties that face us all, I was kind of disappointed. Now the news comes that Dorchester's decision has pushed publication of any further Hard Case Crime titles back until late next year. This is a bummer, and I hope not an ominous portent of things to come.

Publishing is definitely in flux at the moment, and it's hard to tell how I feel about it. On the one hand, the idea of a Kindle or Nook appeals to me. After all, I ran out of space for books in my old place, and then, when it caught fire, I ended up losing about four-fifths of my collection. If I had had an e-reader, insurance would have covered replacing the device, and I would have still had all of my collection. On the other hand, the part of me who likes owning books, the physical object, isn't ready to give them up. The whole point of Hard Case is that they're objects with original artwork that you can collect and keep on a shelf. It wouldn't be the same if they were just e-books. And that doesn't just go for Hard Case. I like having books around, even if they take up too much space, and I don't know that I'm thrilled with where it looks like publishing is going. Perhaps this makes me some sort of old crank, and I'm now in the same category as septuagenarians who get nostalgic for rotary phones, but I guess we all get old eventually, if we're lucky.


Chris Rhatigan said...

Agreed. I'm a fan of the book as a physical object, and the cover art style of Hard Case definitely won't transfer to an e-book.

ErinPaperbackstash said...

I've never picked up an ebook reader in my life. I'm a huge reader since birth. I'm sure its inevitable I will own one, but I know myself well enough to know I'd rarely use it. I'm too addicted to books in their physical form. I've always had an obsessions with books - book form, covers, reading in public and people seeing the books, bookstores, used bookstores, bookshelves, decorating the house with books...heck, even bookmarks and bookplates fascinate me. It feels too clinical and cold to read it on a screen all the time. Blah to that.