Here is what Charles posted on Rara Avis:
Someone contacted me on Facebook about this, and I thought I'd share with
everyone here the message I sent him:
I've spoken with Dorchester about their plans, and I have no objection to
their continuing the book club, as long as they don't use the Hard Case
Crime name and as long as they communicate clearly to the members just what
it is they're doing (and give everyone the chance to opt out if they no
longer want to be part of it).
There are plenty of great hardboiled crime novels that have been published
by houses other than Hard Case Crime, and it may well be that members of the
book club would enjoy getting some of these. I even recommended some to
Dorchester that they might send -- for instance, the brilliant Matthew
Scudder novels by Lawrence Block, which I'd gladly have reprinted in our
line if the opportunity had existed.
However -- and this is critical -- Dorchester should notify all members
about what they're doing before they start doing it, so that no one is
confused or upset the way you clearly are. If they'd sent you a note saying,
"Here's what we plan to do now that we're no longer publishing Hard Case Crime; we'll be mailing you other books in the same spirit, which you can keep or return as you see fit," you might or might not have stayed with the club, but at least you would have felt good rather than bad about what they were doing.
Of course, as you say, it's possible that Dorchester did send you a notice
of this sort and you just missed it -- but if they didn't, they absolutely
should have. I will make sure they get a copy of your message and will let
them know that anything less than full, clear communication with all book
club members is simply unacceptable.
My 2 cents: Now that Dorchester is no longer publishing its own new books in
this genre, I completely understand that their only option for keeping the
book club going is to send out books from other publishers. There's nothing
shameful or inappropriate about that. Hell, who knows, if they're still at
it when next September rolls around, maybe they'll even buy copies of our
new books from Titan and send those out.
The only catch is that they need to communicate clearly with members about
what they're doing and why, and give everyone a chance to exit if they don't
want to be part of it. I even offered to write a letter myself that they
could send to members with the first new shipment; they never took me up on
But I've let them know about the kinds of reactions they're getting and
urged them to communicate with members now to make everything clear.
Hopefully they will.
On Tue, Nov 2, 2010 at 3:16 PM, Jack Quick <email@example.com> wrote:
> A heads up. If you were a member of Charlie Ardai's Hardcase Crime Bookclub
> when Dorchester Publishing stopped printing their books, Dorchester has
> apparently taken that mailing list and morphed it into something called Hard
> Boiled Crime Bookclub and is continuing to ship out (and charge for) books.
> My first one was a reprint of an old Robert B. Parker Sunny Randall book
> (Perish Twice).
> When I called and told them I had never signed up for this, wanted to
> cancel, wanted credit and would return the book, they were nice enough but
> it seemed I was not the only one to cry foul at this treatment.
> Now we will wait and see whether I get my account credited or if this is
> chapter one of a continuing issue.
> I hate it for Charles who did such a fabulous job with Hardcase Crime, but
> these people are certainly not doing him any favors now.
> Alabama Jack
> Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn't learn a lot today, at
> least we learned a little, and if we didn't learn a little, at least we
> didn't get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn't die; so, let us all
> be thankful. Buddha
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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