Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: Legal, but is it ethical?

From: Gratefulbear (
Date: 24 Apr 2006

I agree with much of what Jeff has written. I trust Hard Case Crime to deliver quality novels, and I would definitely purchase a Hard Case edition over a public-domain edition any day. I remember when I was in high school I always bought the "Authorised Editions" of Tolkien's books, rather than the cheaper Ace editions.

I've read authors I've never considered buying before, just because I trust the Hard Case Crime brand name. (And I love the covers!)

pax/paz/shalom/salaam/mir, Darrell

Blog of the Grateful Bear:

  ----- Original Message -----
  From: Jeff Vorzimmer
  Sent: Monday, April 24, 2006 12:22 AM
  Subject: Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: Legal, but is it ethical?


  While your intentions seem to be noble, I think you're overlooking some
  points and glossing over others. To turn a profit, any profit, after only a
  year or so in a niche market such as this is fantastic. And in order to do
  this you've admitted that you have had to select titles you think will sell
  and with which you have exclusivity by contract. That business model seems
  to automatically exclude works in the public domain, which is unfortunate
  since there are a lot of works in the public domain that deserve reprinting.
  It is also unfortunate for the heirs of these writers, who I'm sure would
  rather have their deceased fathers or husbands or grandfathers remembered
  than receiving small checks from you every six months.

  It seems as though you're doing a greater disservice to Mary Chaze by not
  giving "Black Wings" a legitimate paperback reissue than Moynihan is with
  his POD reissue. Your reasoning also sounds somewhat disingenuous. If you
  were actually to the point of negotiating a deal with Mary Chaze and you ran
  across the Blackmask edition, wouldn't your reaction have been--A) She's
  made a deal with someone else or B) It's in the public domain and I don't
  want to have to compete with lots of other potential publishers. Are you
  telling us that you got to that point with Mary Chaze and it never came up
  that the copyright had lapsed? You still seem to be unsure about it.

  Let me say, Charles, that you are underestimating your readership. They are
  a large, but in some ways, a tightly-knit group, who are shopping not only
  for certain writers, but also for certain publishers. You have built up some
  brand loyalty and there are a lot of people who are introduced to writers
  because you republished them. Given the choice, most readers on the list,
  I'm sure, would buy your paperback of Black Wings, rather than the Blackmask
  edition, especially if we knew some of the proceeds were going to the
  author's widow and we could get it at our local bookstore.

  I hope you're not ruling out books simply because they're in the public
  domain. I for one would like to see more Charles Williams, for example, and
  a lot of his early Gold Medal books are in the PD.


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