Has anyone read the 'mission statement' by Penguin Books?
In a nutshell it begins: " He just wanted a decent book to read . . . " Alan Lane a director of Bodley Head publishers was standing on Exeter station back in 1935 looking for something to read on his journey back to London but there was nothing there - just magazines and poor-quality paperbacks.
But Alan Lane knew that there was a vast reading public who could not afford hardbacks so he staked everything on a new company - Penguin Books.
Alan Lane's vision was that paperbacks should be just not sold in bookshops but chainstores and tobacconists and cost no more than the price of a packet of cigarettes.
Times have changed both the price of cigarettes and paperback books have gone up.
"So wherever you see the little bird (Penguin) - whether it is on a piece of prize winning literary fiction or a celebrity autobiography, political tour-de-force or historical masterpiece, a serial killer thriller, reference book, world classic or a piece of pure escapism - you can bet that it represents the very best that the genre has to offer."
That final quote is from the Penguin piece of publicity.
However, Penguin Books do not publish all their pieces of pure escapism in the UK. Penguin books publish Westerns in the USA but NOT the UK. They might say that Westerns can be bought on-line but that is not the point. If Alan Lane was around today, standing on Exeter station he would find his choice limited, especially if he fancied a western, he would not be able to stand there and browse - which is what most people want to do. He could not indulge in a piece of pure Western escapism that represented the best that the genre has to offer.
Penguin Books publish: Jon Sharpe's 'The Trailsman' series - Tabor Evans 'Longarm' series - Jake Logan's 'Slocum' series - J.R.Roberts 'The Gunsmith' series.
Other western authors include: J. Lee Butts, Lyle Brandt, Peter Brandvold, Robert B. Parker,
Dusty Richards, Mike Jameson, Gary Franklin, Jory Sherman, Marcus Galloway, Luke Cypher, Frank Roderus, Johnny D. Boggs, Charles G. West, Wolf McKenna, Jack Ballas and Ralph Compton.
Some of these authors I have heard of - some I haven't for the simple reason that Penguin have not put these books on the UK bookshelves. I, like many others, have not had the opportunity to browse through these books.
And to quote from 'the Dominic Fox scene' blog: " If those books are only published in America what about the American authors? I mean if their books aren't sold in the UK then they are losing out on royalties - aren't they? Maybe they should be asking their publishers why (they aren't sold in the UK) as well" The bit in brackets was added by me.
So - how can westerns get into the stores and be put on bookshelves when the paperback publishers are not making those books available in the first place?