After calling off the proposed merger of Busted Flush Press with Tyrus Books in Madison, Wis., in January 2011, following the sudden death of her husband, Busted Press founder David Thompson, McKenna Jordan told PW that she will close the press by year’s end.
“All titles have been cancelled since David died,” says Jordan, who purchased the Murder By The Book bookstore in Houston, Tex., where Thompson had been assistant manager, in 2009. “The press had gotten into a lot of debt. It’s been my mission to get it out of debt, pay everyone royalties, and keep the press’ reputation and David’s intact. The alternatives were declaring bankruptcy or selling it.”
Rights to a number of Busted Flush titles have gone back to the authors, and some are being published by other presses. Earlier this month, for example, Poisoned Pen Press published Bill Fitzhugh’s The Exterminator. It published Pest Control by Fitzhugh a decade ago. And Back Bay Books will release Daniel Woodrell’s Tomato Red in April. Other authors have chosen to publish e-editions of their work. Zoe Sharp’s Killer Instinct came out in a Kindle edition from Murderati Ink last summer.
At one point Jordan considered turning the press, which specialized in out-of-print hardboiled crime novels, into an imprint of the bookstore. However, given the debt the press was carrying, she says that Thompson probably should have closed the press a couple years ago.