Sunday, 22 November 2009

Photo Covers

Today's inoffensive, photoshopped, type heavy mass market paperback covers are a far cry from those of the 1940s through 1960s. Their illustrations were designed to get your attention at the newsstand, drug store or chain store such as Stedmans, Kresge, Zellers and Metropolitan. Without the covers a blog such as this would be informative (I hope) but dull.

Photo covers were very uncommon on paperbacks. Of the three large Canadian publishers only Collins made an effort to move beyond the illustrated cover with photos. I'll discuss them in another post. A smaller publisher, Studio, also used photo covers.

During its first 4 1/2 years Harlequin had three photo covers (of a total of 264). The blurb on the back cover of Paprika begins with a classic sentence - "It was written in the stars, that Paprika, the Gypsy Queen, would love only one man, and that man she would torture." First published in 1935, Paprika was a popular book with the Harlequin edition reprinted in 1953 and two American paperback editions in the 1950s.




Export had four photo covers (of a total of 197) during its 2 1/2 years existence.  It's interesting to note that the four were published in a three month period - July to September 1950. Murder in False Face with its sick green mask on a sad looking brown carpet is in the running for ugliest Export cover. The long gone Toronto newspaper The Telegram adds some historical interest.

News Stand Library (NSL) 118

NSL 123

NSL 125

NSL 135

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