Monday, March 14, 2005

Best Paperback Original?

It’s been suggested to me in the past that Mystery Ink should add a category to the Gumshoe Awards to honor the Best Paperback Original. (After all, the Edgars, among others, do it.)

For a long time, I was resistant to the idea. What’s the point, I thought, of creating an award that Jason Starr is just going to win every year?

In recent months, though, it seems that things have changed. With companies like Hard Case Crime and Point Blank Press now publishing some outstanding original novels in paperback form, the field has definitely expanded.

We’re also seeing more traditional publishers issuing books in trade paperback format that previously might have been hardcovers. (Reed Coleman’s outstanding The James Deans is an example that comes to mind.)

So now, perhaps, the time has come. It looks like this year’s candidates could be very strong.

What do you all think? Should we add Best Paperback Original? And should this be an additional category, or should it replace Best European Crime Novel, a category I’m still unsure of. (Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments section, or you can email me.)