Is Dorchester going all digital? Leah Hultenschmidt, editorial director at the publisher, said headlines from last week that emphasized the company's move away from mass market paperback to a largely e-book program miscontrued the situation. "It's true Dorchester is going digital, but only for the next six months," Hultenschmidt explained. Her comment comes after Dorchester said late last week that it would be dropping its mass market publishing program, releasing all its titles in e-book format and publishing select books via print-on-demand.
A number of agents, speaking on the condition of anonymity, expressed concerns about the situation at Dorchester. One called what's happening "an admission of retreat" on behalf of the publisher and said that the house's editors are saying one thing while its president is telling the press something very different. But Hultenschmidt said the headlines about Dorchester's new plans overplayed the digital aspect. Hultenschmidt said that the house will be working with Ingram Publishers Services, as previously announced, and will be releasing all of its titles in e-book format and then releasing a paperback edition roughly six months later. Hultenschmidt said the lag would allow IPS to collect all of Dorchester's sales information and give it time to sell titles into accounts.
Although Dorchester president John Prebich, when he initially explained the move to PW, did not lay out a trade paperback program and said only select titles would be printed POD, Hultenschmidt said that POD would be used largely for re-orders, but that most titles would be printed as traditional trade paperbacks on offset printers.
There are several reports that the company is running very late on advances--one source confirmed that their author has been waiting an inordinately long time for payment with no guarantee of when a check might arrive--and there are still questions about how many titles Dorchester really is planning on releasing in print. While Hultenschmidt insisted that the publisher is just dealing with a lag and that already signed books would still be released in print--she did not respond to questions about why her take on the publisher's plans directly refutes what Prebich told the press. One agent, with an author who has mulitple titles with Dorchester, said he was told that there was no guarantee his author's book would still be released in print, but, rather, the print titles would be determined by the house's new spring list. When asked about this Hultenschmidt did not respond.