Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Langtail Press


Langtail Press is a new kid on the block so far as publishers go. It’s a venture run by James Prichard, and it produces print on demand traditional format books and e-books.

What is special about Langtail is the list of titles, which include many ‘forgotten classics’. For instance, there are several titles by Anthony Berkeley, the brilliant plot-twister of the Golden Age and founder of the Detection Club.

Other authors on the list so far are three of the great American crime writers – John Dickson Carr, Ellery Queen and Fredric Brown. All of them fascinating novelists, all brilliantly ingenious. I am reading one of them now and will review it before long.

James told me: ‘I set up the business about a year ago, with the general idea of bringing out of print books back to life. I started with crime books because a) it is a genre I love and b) because they lend themselves to this publishing model: the writers were prolific, the books are short, readers are many, voracious and completists, and there is a good community on the web. I approached a few agents and, possibly to my surprise, I got some really great authors quite quickly...I have about 50 titles available currently, and am now desperately trying to gather more titles for publication early in the Summer. Part of the difficulty with this as a project is tracking down the rights for the authors: some Estates (mostly it is Estates, not authors) have agents, but some do not and tracking these down is not easy (though fun).'

More power to his elbow!


8 comments:

Margot Kinberg said...

Martin - Good to hear all of this - thanks.

Maxine said...

Sounds great, he might look at Ella Griffiths, a Norwegian author, who published two "classic" murder mysteries in the 1980s. They were translated into English and published by Quartet but are long since out of print and unavailable (I read ex-library copies bought second hand). I found out some interesting info about the author via the translator. See my blog review and this info:
http://petrona.typepad.com/petrona/2010/11/book-review-the-water-widow-by-ella-griffiths.html

lyn said...

Thank you for this Martin. I'm interested in several authors reprinted by Langtail so I'm sure I'll be buying a few of their books in the future. How interesting that the publisher is Agatha Christie's great grandson! Murder runs in the family, obviously.

Maxine said...

Yes, indeed Lyn, and sorry I should have mentioned in my comment about Ella Griffiths that she was known as "Norway's Agatha Christie" which is one reason why I thought Langtail might be interested.

Martin Edwards said...

Many thanks. Ella Griffiths is a very interesting suggestion, Maxine.
Lyn, I'm impressed with the first Langtail book I've been reading.

John said...

I only wish he made them slightly more attractive. They look like generic textbooks. Ah well.

Everyone is happy Carr is back in print over at the GA Detection Yahoo forum where I first heard of this outfit. And I personally am happy to see Fredric Brown back in print! One of the best American genre writers that no one seems to read anymore -- unless you are a paperback collector. More P.M. Hubbard too! His first three books are incredibly hard to find and well wroth reading.

I only pray that he manages to get DEATH OF JEZEBEL by Christianna Brand back in print. That is one book that is very deserving of (not too mention long overdue for) a reissue. People are clamoring for it. Had I the financial backing I would do it myself.

vegetableduck said...

Yes, it's good this is being done, though it's hard to get as excited about such generic looking books. These might as well be kindle affairs.

It's very odd Carr can't get a bigger publisher. I think Judas Window and Crooked Hinge are with Rue Morgue, but that's it.

Sir Henry Merrivale and Dr. Fell should have been younger, svelter and handsomer and fallen in love with charming and talented women (writers or artists, say) over several novels.

Martin Edwards said...

John, Curt, I agree the covers are nothing special, but what is inside is, which I guess is the main thing. I've just obtained The Burning Court from Langtail...