I call these two the powerhouses of the cozy mystery world because they are the two publishers you will probably hear the most of in the cozy world. These two publishers will also make up most of the books you see in your bookstores. Each has their drawbacks but both are great publishers who have brought cozy/traditional/light mysteries to a huge audience.
Berkley Prime Crime/Obsidian
I lumped these two together because they’re both imprints of Penguin, and if you hear about one you’ll hear about the other; their website, Twitter, and Facebook are even combined. Berkley is responsible for some of the most loved traditional mysteries such as the Coffeehouse Mystery Series by Cleo Coyle, The Royal Spyness Series by Rhys Bowen, the Booktown Series by Lorna Barrett and the Tea Shop Mystery series by Laura Childs. Obsidian is responsible for the Psychic Eye mystery series by Victoria Laurie and the Witchcraft Mystery Series by Juliet Blackwell to name a few.
Berkley/Obsidian (I’m going to simply call them Berkley from now on) also are on top of my list for best quality paperbacks. Their paperbacks aren’t very flimsy and they hold up well. However, Berkley is not the best for price. They do have Kindle/Nook deals which brings certain of their book prices down from $7.99 to $1.99, but in the long run they don’t have as many sales as Kensington does.
Besides that one drawback Berkley is by far the biggest of the publishers I’ll list today, and I believe that they are one of, if not the, best publisher right now in terms of quality and variety.
Kensington has been in the cozy world for awhile, but just recently it seems like they’ve pushed farther into this genre. Almost every month now they have a new cozy series debuting, and I have found many a gem from Kensington.
Kensington is responsible for the Hannah Swensen Mystery Series by Joanne Fluke (arguable the most popular cozy mystery series still being published), the Jaine Austen mystery series by Laura Levine, and the Lucy Stone series by Leslie Meier. As I said above, they’ve been around for quite some time, but just recently they’ve started a huge push into the cozy world that caused me to label them a powerhouse of this genre of publishing.
Kensington does not have the same quality paperbacks Berkley has. However, they do have quite a few more sales on ebooks than Berkley does. There are almost always 15-20+ cozy mysteries you can get for your Kindle/Nook from Kensington for under $5.
Both have their perks, and I believe that as Kensington continues to grow in the cozy mystery world they will grow to rival Berkley for size in terms of cozies published per month.