Louis L'amour has long been a towering figure in Western fiction. During his lifetime he published over ninety novels and to date there are twenty seven short stories collections available. The publisher's figures state that there are some 270 million copies of his work in print.
A level of market penetration that most of us western scribes can only fantasize of. And then only in our wildest moments.
Born in 1908 and died in 1988.
He is probably the most well known western author in the world and still continues to sell well today. If you're lucky enough to find a bookshop with a western fiction section then it's a fair bet L'amour's titles will outnumber other authors by at least two to one.
Collecting L'amour today is a fairly easy process since all his work remains in print and is easily available. But there are so many different publications of each title out there that anyone wanting to build a collection will have to be selective to get the better editions for their cash.
On the short story front there is an handsome hardback collection which goes under the title: The Collected Short Stories of Louis L'amour. Four volumes thus far -These are lovely looking books from Bantem and will rise in value on the collectors market. The real money will always be with first editions but many of the titles in these collections are previously unpublished which makes them sought after items.
There are countless paperback editions out there but the latest 100 year issues are double novels with the author's pictures on the covers. These sell for a very reasonable £6.99 over here in the UK. Which is a bargain considering you are getting two full length novels in one.
Many of the author's books are available as audio-books and these are well produced and make wonderful listening material when driving. Believe me long car trips are a dawdle with a good audio book in the stereo system.
Newcomers to L'amour may find the wealth of material available a but daunting but the books can be read in any order - even the series titles, the best known of which is The Sackets, can be read independent of one another as most are stand alone novels.
So anyone that stumbles across this post and is tempted to try some L'amour then my advise is leap straight in. These are traditional westerns without pretensions - the most important thing with these books is the story and boy are they good stories.
There is a wealth of information about the author on the web and several thriving communities dedicated to the great man and his works. Perhaps the best place to start is the official site but do a Google search and take a journey of discovery.
In short anyone who likes western fiction must like L'amour.