Publishers' Weekly reports that Dorchester is getting out of the paperback book business and shifting to an e-book and POD model.
Mass market romance publisher Dorchester Publishing has dropped its traditional print publishing business in favor of an e-book/print-on-demand model effective with its September titles that are “shipping” now. President John Prebich said after retail sales fell by 25% in 2009, the company knew that 2010 “would be a defining year,” but rather than show improvement, “sales have been worse.”
[…]Dorchester will continue to do print copies for its book club business and has signed a deal with Ingram Publisher Service for IPS to do print-on-demand copies for selected titles. According to Prebich, some e-books that are doing well in the digital marketplace will be released as trade paperbacks with IPS fulfilling orders; the company, however, will not do any more mass market paperbacks for retail distribution.
I am running out the door, so I haven't had a chance to give this development much thought. I'll probably post more about it later. But I wonder what this means for their Hard Case Crime imprint?
UPDATE – Apparently, the Wall Street Journal was wondering the same thing:
Hard Case Crime, an imprint owned by closely held Winterfall LLC, said it may seek to move its mystery books from Dorchester to another publishing house.
"It's been a good run, but if they aren't publishing mass market paperbacks, we'll have to decide what to do. I'm a believer in the mass format, but I do understand the reality of the marketplace," said Charles Ardai, who owns Hard Case Crime.
The country's largest consumer book publisher, Bertelsmann AG's Random House Inc., said it continues to be a strong believer in mass paperbacks. One of the country's most successful mystery writers, the late John D. MacDonald, is available from Random House exclusively in mass paperback.
"It's still a viable, popular, lower-priced alternative to the other reading formats," said Stuart Applebaum, a spokesman for Random House. "It also has a committed readership. Will that commitment be forever in a transformative marketplace? We'll have to wait and see.
UPDATE: And Charles Ardai elaborated in a comment he left here, that says:
It means that future Hard Case Crime titles will most likely be published by a company other than Dorchester (although Dorchester may still distribute them to their book club members).
Interesting times. More info to come as things ripen…