F+W Media officially announced this past week the acquisition of more than 250 out-of-print crime novels, originally published between 1940 and 1970, to be reissued as e-books under its Prologue Books imprint. Formats supported include Kindle, Nook, Apple iBook, Sony, and Kobo.Ben Leroy, the talented publisher of Tyrus Books (purchased by F+W Media last year), who has been put in charge of the new Prologue imprint, is quoted as saying: “I envision Prologue Books [as] not simply an e-book publisher for out-of-print titles, but as a living record of the crime, science fiction, and fantasy genres. There’s a great opportunity to shine the spotlight on authors who may have been significantly influential on the current state of publishing, but who have never really received their due for one reason or another. With the help of luminaries in the genres--authors, readers, reviewers--we are excited to find and share those stories.”
Classic crime novelists whose work is already available from Prologue include William Campbell Gault, Frank Kane, Talmage Powell, Ed Lacy, Kin Platt, Wade Miller, Vin Packer, Peter Rabe, and Robert Colby. Click here to glance through the imprint’s current catalogue.
I don’t see the information anywhere on the Prologue Books Web site about how much each of these resurrected volumes costs, but a quick check on Amazon.com suggests they’ll run you just over $3 apiece. That’s a bargain, considering how much more you might pay for the original paperback versions of those books.
On the other hand, it’s unfortunate that Prologue doesn’t seem to be reproducing the often beautiful artwork that formerly fronted these works (Gault’s Sweet Wild Wench and Powell’s Start Screaming Murder being two of the more prominent examples). And of course, these e-books won’t come with the fragrance of vintage pages or the lovingly preserved heft that used paperback copies offer.
Still, it’s good to see some of these authors introduced to new generations of crime-fiction enthusiasts.
READ MORE: “A New E-book Publisher: Prologue Books,” by Steve Lewis (Mystery*File).