One of the most vapid and infantile forms of art ever conceived by the brain of a Hollywood film producer." ...Dwight Macdonald, The Miscellany 1929
"The western remains, I suppose, America's distinctive contribution to the film."...Arthur Schlesinger Jr, Show April 1963
"Get off your arses and help out on Wild West eMonday and buy a western."...Gary Dobbs/Jack Martin, The Tainted Archive
It's been over four years since the first Wild West Monday initiative and back then it was a very different world - for one thing no one had heard of the Kindle and eBooks were such a small part of the overall book industry that no one took them seriously. And that book industry itself was in a sorry state and had shrunk after decades of declining book sales to a point where there was little difference in the stock carried from one bookshop to another - it was as if we all wanted to read the same thing and variety was not a word that could be used when talking about books.
Back when we started out the idea of Wild West Monday was to try and put those western paperbacks back in the shops, to force a return to times when all genres were carried and not just tried and tested bestselling writers. Fans were urged to write to publishers in support of the western genre and a good many of you did and indeed by the third Wild West Monday publishers were reporting a small increase in demand for western titles.
When I was a kid the local book shop was a much more interesting place - the shelves were filled with brightly coloured paperbacks of all genres - crime, horror, science fiction, fantasy, war, westerns and even erotic fiction - writers with names like Guy N. Smith, Sven Hessel, George Gilman, Oliver Strange, Shaun Hutson and Mark Slade were household names. Most of these writers worked in the mid range - they would never trouble the bestsellers of the day but they would shift tons of books between them.
However as the Seventies turned into the Eighties something strange happened - apparently all book buyers started to demand books which were 500 pages plus and in which each story was basically a retelling of the one before. And the gems - the quick reads that were purchased by teenagers and young adults started to disappear. A new phenomenon started to appear - the mega- seller - Stephen King, Jeffrey Archer, James Herbert and in latter days J K Rowling and Martina Cole, and since then there's be another major change with eBooks, something the Archive's always believed in, breaking sales records.
So saddle up and enjoy all the western related posts this weekend and if you've never tried a western then now is the time to do so.