F+W Launches Hard-Boiled Crime E-Book Imprint

F+W Media is launching a new digital-only imprint, Prologue Books, that aims to reintroduce readers to previously out-of-print crime, sci-fi/fantasy, romance, western and YA titles published between 1940 and 1970.

Prologue Books launches with about 150 titles, available through Kindle, Nook, Sony (NYSE: SNE), Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) and Kobo. (Annoyingly, the buy links through Prologue’s site aren’t working yet so you have to type in specific titles at your etailer of choice.) Pricing varies, with many titles priced at $3.99.

Ben LeRoy, publisher of F+W’s Tyrus Books, is leading the project, said, “I envision Prologue Books not simply as an e-book publisher for out-of-print titles, but as a living record of the crime, science fiction and fantasy genres.” Another 45 titles are coming this month and another 100 vintage sci-fi/fantasy titles will be available by the end of the year.

LeRoy has been acquiring rights to the titles from a variety of sources, including literary agents representing authors’ estates, and authors’ family members.

Other publishers also aim to bring back out-of-print works in digital form. Open Road teamed with Otto Penzler last year to launch MysteriousPress.com, a crime and mystery imprint with titles by authors like Ellery Queen and James Grady. And librarian Nancy Pearl is working with Amazon to launching a series of Kindle editions of some of her favorite out-of-print titles, beginning with two novels to be reissued this spring.