As the number of those of us reading digitally continues to grow, more and more backlist titles are becoming available in e-book form. Grand Central, for instance, recently began to digitally publish 25 of Sandra Brown’s backlist titles. Slow Heat in Heaven, a much loved romance first published in 1988, was published as an e-book at the end of February, along with four other titles from her backlist. Four of her suspense/romantic suspense backlist books go on sale in April: Where There’s Smoke, Standoff, French Silk, and Charade, with four more on sale in June, and four more in August. In December, nine of her romance backlist titles will be reissued as e-books, including her very first book, Love’s Encore (originally published under the name Rachel Ryan in 1981). I’m not a particular fan of Brown—I thought Slow Heat in Heaven incredibly overwrought—but according to Publishers Weekly, Grand Central is pricing these reissues well, from $1.99 to $4.99.
In digital terms, Diana Gabaldon is also having a big month in April. Random House has bundled together her three Lord John books—Lord John and the Private Matter, Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade, and The Scottish Prisoner—and Lord John and the Hand of Devils, her Lord John anthology. The cover image shown for this compilation at Amazon indicates it’s on sale for 20% off, but it doesn’t look like a particular bargain. Random House has set the price as $31.99, but it may actually sell for less once it’s actually on sale on April 8th.
Speaking of Random House, the publisher has revived the Loveswept category romance imprint as an e-book-only imprint, featuring new (including H&H's Megan Frampton's title Hero of My Heart) and “classic” releases. Its April classic releases include '80s and '90s titles from Karen Leabo, Linda Cajio, and Sandra Chastain, as well as Iris Johansen’s A Reluctant Lark. With the exception of Johansen’s book, which will sell for $4.99, the other April Loveswept reissues appear to be a real bargain, at $2.99 each.
Loveswept began to digitally reissue Johansen category titles in October. Look for more to come throughout the year. And for those who might have missed it, three of Johansen’s single title historicals were reissued digitally in 2012 (Midnight Warrior, The Beloved Scoundrel, and Dark Rider).
Just as Random House has an e-book-only imprint, so does Simon & Schuster: Pocket Star, which was previously part of Pocket Books. Run For Your Life, a terrific romantic suspense title from Andrea Kane, first published in 2000, is available for the first time as an e-book in April, for $7.99. It was the first of her contemporary romantic suspense books after publishing a large number of historical romances. Though I’m not a big romantic suspense reader, I liked Kane’s book a lot because the villainy didn’t involve a psychopath, particularly one with an off-the-charts IQ. I love when J.D. Robb does them, but not so much from other authors.
Penguin also has an e-book-only imprint. InterMix publishes romance, mystery, and SF/F. You may remember reading about it wresting away from Harlequin some of Nora Roberts’ category backlist. Well, in April InterMix will digitally publish more than twenty books from her backlist. Some are stand-alones (Untamed, Sullivan’s Woman, Less of a Stranger, and Her Mother’s Keeper) but most are full series: Night Tales (five titles, published between 1990 and 2000), Cordina’s Royal Family (four titles, published between 1986 and 2002), The O’Hurleys (four titles, published between 1988 and 1990), Donovan’s Legacy (four titles, published between 1992 and 1999). I can’t vouch for each the books in all four series reissues, but Night Tales, Cordina’s Royal Family, and Donovan’s Legacy all featured titles I liked.
Penguin has not discounted any of Nora Roberts’ reissues, which is a shame in that these books were originally published as category romances, which are far shorter than single title contemporaries. Each prices out at $6.99. In contrast, two of the four titles in her MacKade series, still sold individually by Harlequin (as Silhouette Special Releases), are available for $3.50; the other two sell for $5.38.
If you’re looking to fill out a Debbie Macomber backlist, April looks to be a big month for her, as many of her old category romances are being reissued digitally under Harlequin’s MIRA imprint. All six titles in her Navy series (published originally between 1998 and 2005) and six of the eight Heart of Texas series (originally published in 1998) go on sale this month. The Heart of Texas series will sell for $2.99 apiece at Amazon. The titles in the Navy series are to sell for $3.82 each.
Under Harlequin’s HQN imprint, look for ten of Linda Lael Miller reissues, originally published between 1984 and 1990, for prices between $3.99 and $4.39 for Kindle: Snowflakes on the Sea, Mixed Messages, Daring Moves, Ragged Rainbows, Only Forever, Used-to-be Lovers, A Wanted Man, State Secrets, Glory Glory, and Escape from Cabriz.
If you’re looking to try one of these authors for the first time, I’d go with Macomber, although Miller sold like mad when I worked at a bookstore. She has reinvented herself often, and AFAIC, for good reason. Just one of her titles—Princess Annie—ever struck a chord with me (a single title historical for Pocket and not a category romance like the HQN reissues), and for some bizarre reason, the digital version sells for more than $15 on Amazon.
I’ll be writing about e-book reissues monthly, and in future months will write about specific books in more detail. For instance, a two-in-one print version of Mary Balogh’s A Counterfeit Betrothal and The Notorious Rake goes on sale in print in April; it becomes available digitally in May, which is when I’ll write about it here.
Laurie Gold cannot stop reading and writing about romance—she’s been blabbing online for years. She remains a work in progress. Keep up with her on herMy Obsessions tumblr blog, Goodreads(where she spends much of her time as late), follow her on Pinterest, or on@laurie_gold, where she mostly tweets about publishing news and [probably too often] politics.