I mention this because I bought the Guthrie as a downloaded e-book, and if electronic books are here to stay, we might as well take advantage of what the medium can do. I don't mean weird technological gimcrackery that in most cases adds up to nothing more than what a simple paperback does at a fraction of the cost, I mean the flexibility to publish narrative forms such as novellas and short stories that might be economically unfeasible as traditional books.
Bye, Bye Baby is about seventy pages; hard to imagine a publisher taking a chance on a traditional book that size (though Five Leaves Publishing Crime Express series does so with, among other novellas, Guthrie's Killing Mum, and Barrington Stoke with his Kill Clock). But lower production and distribution costs might encourage them to do so with books in electronic form.
And where is a reader to turn who loves an author's short fiction and would like it collected in one place, as I would with Phillips or Jean-Hugues Oppel or Dominique Manotti? (Ken Bruen, too, though he's popular enough that some publisher might be able to sell his collected shorts as a traditional book.)
Short-story collections by a single crime author are few and far between, and I suspect uncertainty about their sales prospects helps account for this. So why not sell collections as cheap e-books, or even let readers build their own books electronically out of the short stories they want to read?
What are the barriers to doing things this way? And which crime writers would you like to see come out with collections of short stories?
© Peter Rozovsky 2010