Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Canadian Paperbacks? Part I

This blog is sub-titled "Canadian Paperbacks" but the long title should be "Canadian Paperbacks Published by Canadian Companies". In competition with the pure Canadian books were Canadian editions of books published in the US and Britain. Typically the plates would be sent to the Canadian subsidiary with books then printed, bound and distributed to Canadian newsstands, drug and cigar stores and department stores. Here is an odd example of this.

Quick Readers were 49 small (3" x 4 1/2") books published by Royce Publishers of Chicago from 1943 through 1945. There were collections of short stories but also a number of novels, including Jane Eyre, Crime and Punishment, Wuthering Heights and The Way of All Flesh. The books were 128 pages long and usually had illustrations. At 128 small pages you can imagine how much A Tale of Two Cities or Gulliver's Travels were abridged! They sold for 10 cents.

The Canadian editions were copyrighted in the Dominion of Canada and published by Royce Publishers (Canada) Limited at 40 Lombard Street in downtown Toronto. All the examples I've seen are identical to the American edition except the price is marked 15 cents on the inside front cover. I know of Canadian editions from the beginning of the series to near the end so it is likely that all 49 were published in Canada.

Here are four examples (doesn't Count Bruga look like the actor Paul Bradley who played Joey in the 1970 Canadian movie Going Down the Road?).

Quick Reader 118

Quick Reader 107

Quick Reader 117

Quick Reader 109

1 comment:

  1. Yikes. I can't speak to Bushido or How to Tell Your Friends from Apes, but I can report that my first edition copies of The Florentine Dagger and Count Bruga run at 256-pages and 319-pages respectively. While the latter has no illustrations, The Florentine Dagger features five by Winston Smith. I wonder whether these were used by Royce. I suspect not as a note tells the reader that they "illustrate the spirit of the text rather than its letter". Strikes me as just a bit too artsy for a publisher of cheap paperbacks.