January 23rd, 2012

DC skyline

DC noir goes blue light special

I am so pumped! George Pelecanos, DC-based crime/mystery novelist and screenwriter has published a new novel, a 1970's era crime piece called What It Was. It's not so much that I'm a Pelecanos fan (I don't read a lot of crime fiction, except maybe Elizabeth George) as that I'm tickled pink at his publishers' (Reagan Arthur Books/Hatchette) marketing plan: they're bringing the book out in a pricey limited edition slipcase hardback, a $9.99 trade paperback, and an ebook. For the first month the ebook costs only 99¢! After a month, the price will go up to a still-very-affordable $4.99. 

According to the Wall Street Journal article about the new book, Pelecanos has not sold more than 29,000 copies of any single novel he published since 2005. Mind you, this man has been nominated for and won awards and honors. He wrote for The Wire and Treme, two shows respected for the quality of their scripts. But his recent novels were always released as $24.99 hardbacks, because publishers love hardbacks. 

Pelecanos makes only 17¢ on each 99¢ cent sale, which sounds terrible, but percentage-wise, it's not a whole lot worse than the $2.27 he made on the $12.99 ebook version of his previous novel The Cut. And hopefully, he will sell a whole lot more books!

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