In the wake of the recent turmoil at Dorchester Publishing, which has seen the publisher drop the mass market paperback format in favor of e-Books and trade paperbacks, and which last week saw the editorial department cut back to one person, Hard Case Crime owner Charles Ardai indicated he'd be movin the imprint to another publisher. That publisher, at least for the next release, is Subterranean Press.
Hard Case Crime was conceived as a throwback line to the old crime paperbacks that once filled bookstore shelves and drugstore spinner racks. The line showcases classic reprints as well as new crime fiction from names like Lawrence Block, David J. Schow, Robert Bloch and Christa Faust. Even the book covers, with paintings of dames and guns evocative of the old-style pulps, was designed for maximum retro appeal. The line was designed for the mass market paperback format, which makes it easy to understand why Dorchester's decisions led Ardai to seek out a new home.
What's strange about the move is that the next Hard Case Crime release, a double edition of early Lawrence Block novels (69 Barrow Street and Strange Embrac) will actually debut in hardcover.
The hardcover debut will be a first for the line (althouh at least one other Hard Case Crime release - Stephen King's The Colorado Kid - was later reprinted as a limited edition hardcover). It will still be released in the "doubles" format (meaning you'll have to flip the book over to read each novel), but there's no indication on the Subterranean site as to when - or if - a paperback version is planned.
Subterranean is eying a release date in the first half of 2011, so preorder information will likely appear soon on their website. In the meantime, it's good to know Hard Case Crime has a home - even if the format is a departure.