The close of another month, November 2020, and the close of a long-running line of westerns too. Robert Hale Ltd started publishing westerns in the U.K. in 1936. Since the mid ‘80’s they put them out under the Black Horse Western banner. Their books were produced for the library market but there were also a few for sale elsewhere. In 2015 Robert Hale and their imprint of Black Horse Westerns became part of The Crowood Press who continued to produce these hardback books. Unfortunately, they are no-longer viable and Crowood have made the decision to stop publishing them. Their back catalogue will still be available to purchase whilst stocks last.

As well as publishing work from new authors, Hale also put out work from established authors from various parts of the world. These were both reprints of old classic tales and brand-new stories. At their height, Hale were putting out ten new western books a month, more than any of the American publishers. Most were stand-alone novels, but series books appeared too. Crowood introduced ebook versions for a while and experimented with softback copies as well.

For many years Hale sent me all their Black Horse Westerns, often before they would appear in the libraries, so I could review some of them on Western Fiction Review. When Crowood took on the line they continued to supply me with review copies. I discovered many new authors to me, lots of whom became favourite writers with some becoming good friends. I can’t begin to think how many hundreds of these beautifully produced books I have in my collection. 

As these books become part of publishing history, gone but never forgotten, I can’t help but feel a little sad that there won’t be any new ones to read and that they will slowly disappear from library shelves. 

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