Thursday 30 December 2010

The Time Machine Part VI

The Time Machine is a short novel, really a novelette. A 1995 Penguin edition, only 107mm x 136 mm (4 3/16 x 5 3/8 inches), is just 92 pages long. Along with its popularity, this made it an ideal novel for reprinting in the pulps - three times between 1927 and 1951. The first was Amazing Stories, May 1927. The text reprinted is the standard Heinemann published in 1895. The story illustrated on the cover is not The Time Machine. The next pulp reprints, Famous Fantastic Mysteries in August 1950 (vol. 11 no. 6) and Two Complete Science-Adventure Books Winter 1951 (vol. 1 no. 4), have The Time Machine on the cover.

The FFM cover is by Norman Saunders with the Time Traveller aggressively protecting an over sized, but nicely made-up, Weena from the Morlocks. The story is 44 pages long. The version reprinted is the uncommon first American. The TCS-AB version is the Heinemann and is 43 pages long.

Monday 27 December 2010

Condition - Part I

Anyone who collects a mass market product such as paperbacks understands the effect condition has on collecting. I'll detour from paperbacks to another mass market product to give an example.

Long before paperbacks I collected comic books. That ended some 20 years ago for two reasons. One was the change in the industry that happened mid eighties. Independents challenged DC and Marvel and the two dominant publishers began to change the product. Many old series were cancelled and the process that led to today's overpriced, overmarketed, overproduced comic book junk began. Although I see that the air is escaping from that balloon - DC Comics has recently announced the first drop in price in its history from $3.99 to $2.99. Thank goodness for the growth of the graphic novel over this period.

The other reason is the explosive growth in the price of comics published from the 30s to the 70s. Especially in high grade condition. Viz., a copy of Action Comics #1 (VG+ condition) sold earlier this year for $1.5 million. This is extraordinary. Of the tens of millions of books and magazines published around the world in the twentieth century the single most expensive item is a 10 cent 1938 American comic book. The most expensive book published in the 20th century sold for $430,000 in 2000.

Here are a couple of copies of the first Flash Annual from 1963. The first copy cost me 25 cents when I bought it at the neighbourhood confectionery store. It shows the many readings I enjoyed. This one would hardly qualify for good condition. The other copy is near fine and was purchased in the 1980s. A near fine copy, in the latest price guide, sells for 20 times a good copy.

DC published a "Replica Edition" in 2001. The price has jumped - $6.95 US, $11.50 CAN.

Saturday 18 December 2010

Collins White Circle Artists Part XX - Margaret Paull (7)

The first 35 of 67 signed covers by Margaret Paull for Wm. Collins Sons & Co. Canada Ltd's White Circle imprint are discussed in parts I to VI. Here are the next six. All were published in 1945 with The Nutmeg Tree and The Commandos reprinted in 1946.

White Circle 222

White Circle 223

White Circle 224

White Circle 225

White Circle 226

White Circle 228

Thursday 16 December 2010

1960s - Part I

I've just finished Sam Wasson's Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M. (New York: HarperCollins, 2010), the story of the making of the film version of Breakfast at Tiffany's. The title describes the time and place of the filming of the first scene in the movie. The date was October 2, 1960. Today the director of Breakfast at Tiffany's, Blake Edwards, died.

A co founder of Ms. Magazine is quoted in the book:

"When Breakfast at Tiffany's came out, it blew me away. ... Here was this incredibly glamorous quirky, slightly bizarre woman who wasn't convinced that she had to live with a man. She was a single girl living a life of her own, and she could have an active sex life that wasn't morally questionable. I had never seen that before."

Meanwhile Harlequin Books, in the decade beginning 1960, published ten non-romance books. The rest of the 60s was inoffensive Mills & Boon romances, 849 of them. The 10 non-romance were a mixed bag - six non fiction (3 sports, one each of biography, RCMP history and an etiquette dictionary) and four fiction, including the amazing Thomas P. Kelley. Here are three of the 10.

Harlequin 635 - 1961

Harlequin 695 - 1962

Harlequin 718 - 1963

Tuesday 14 December 2010

News Stand Library v. Newsstand Library Part I

Toronto's Export Publishing Enterprises's News Stand Library Pocket imprint ran from mid 1948 until early 1951. Then it started again in 1959, or so it might seem. Newsstand Library, Inc. published 97 "Newsstand Library Magenta" books through early 1962. But this was a Chicago company with no connection to Export. The name is close enough that the two series are sometimes confused with each other or run together in lists.

Contributing to the confusion is the coincidence that the books were very similar in story type and cover art. Titles like Commit the Sin, Diploma of Passion and She Had to Be Loved can easily be imagined on Export's books. The most famous of the Newsstand Library Magenta books is Charles Willeford's The Woman Chaser, the only one to have been recently published in a new edition.

Newsstand Library Magenta U137 - April 1960

Newsstand Library Magenta U137 back

News Stand Library 139 - September 1950

News Stand Library 139 back

News Stand Library 145 - October 1950

News Stand Library 145 back

Friday 10 December 2010

First Two News Stand Library Pocket Editions

Export Publishing Enterprises Ltd began publishing its 156 title News Stand Library Pocket imprint in mid 1948. The first two books are unnumbered and undated. The reprint of Mark It With a Stone states that the first printing was May 1948, with the reprint dated June. There is debate about which book is "number one" but I imagine they were printed and bound at the same time. I say this because they have the identical page count and binding - five stapled signatures, two with 12 leaves followed by three with 16 leaves for a total of 72 leaves or 144 pages. The reprint has six stapled signatures - one 16, one 12, one 8, one 16, one 12 and one 8. The reprint is 8-9 mm wider than the other two books.

Mark It With a Stone was first published New York: Frederick Fell, 1947. Artists, Models and Murder by Toronto's Crown Novel Publishing in 1946.

First printing - May 1948

First printing back

Second printing - June 1948

Second printing back

First and only printing - May 1948?

Wednesday 8 December 2010

Mungo Park Part III

The first part of this post highlighted an early 20th century edition of Mungo Park's Travels in the Interior Districts of Africa. First published in 1799 this classic tale of discovery for the source of the Niger River in west Africa remains in print. Part II showcased 1810 and 1839 editions. Here are two editions from 1800. One is a London edition but not from the "official" publisher W. Bulmer & Co. The other is an early French edition, Abrégé du Voyage de M. Mungo Park dans l'Intérieur de l'Afrique, published Paris: C. Pougens et Orléans: Berthevin.

Many English editions were published in the first quarter of the nineteenth century - indicating how popular the book was. But none could be bothered with all the parts to the first edition and some also abridged the main narrative. The Crosby and Letterman edition is one of these. By 1803 Letterman was gone and the renamed firm, Crosby & Co., famously held the copyright to Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey until 1809 without publishing. It took Austen a further seven years to buy back the copyright and the novel was published posthumously.

Sunday 5 December 2010

Collins White Circle Modified Numbering Part II

Part I discussed a change to Wm Collins Sons & Co. Canada Ltd's numbering for their White Circle imprint that affected the last four years of the run. There was one other change at the tail end of the run in 1952.

Seven of the last ten books have a suffix attached to the number; in six cases "X", in one case "J". I have a plausible explanation for the part I change but this one stumps me. Why these seven and not the other three books? Why only one "J"? Anyone have any ideas?

The books without a suffix are 536, 538, 540.
The ones with a suffix are 535, 537, 539, 541, 542, 544, 545.
There is no book with the 543 number.

Here's one last thought. Two of the books without a suffix (536, 538) are short westerns with no price. The six "X" books have a 35 cent price. The one "J" book has a 50 cent price. The only book that doesn't fit this pattern is 540 with no suffix but marked with a 50 cent price. Perhaps that's an oversight and the suffix did equal the price?

Collins White Circle Modified Numbering Part I

The first 265 (of 459) books Wm. Collins Sons & Co. Canada Ltd published in their White Circle imprint had a simple numbering system - just the number. But with book 347 a "CD" was added to the front of the number. Books 348 and 349 don't have the CD but all books from 350 to 545 do. Early on the prefix was "CD" then "C.D." and sometimes "C.D". The change happened mid way through 1948.

What does it mean? There is no obvious connection with the publisher or imprint name. I believe the CD stood for Curtis Distributing Company of Canada, one of the largest wholesalers of magazines and paperbacks in Canada. The American parent was part of the company that published the Saturday Evening Post. Collins earliest distributors for the White Circles were American News Company east of BC and a local distributor in BC. Sometime in the mid 1940s Collins switched to Curtis.

White Circle 346 - 1948

White Circle CD 347 - 1948

White Circle C.D. 545X - 1952

Friday 3 December 2010

Collins White Circle Reprints Part II

Wm Collins Sons & Co. Canada Ltd. published 459 books in its White Circle imprint from 1942 to 1952. Thirty titles were published in two editions (i.e., two different numbers in the series) leaving 429 separate titles, some of which were reprinted. Collins was not consistent, particularly in the first years, in indicating a reprint. For some books it isn't possible to choose the first printing from among variants. Here are two titles with three reprints, all of which can be identified.

The first White Circle printing of Black Jade by Angeline Taylor is 1948. As usual the first White Circle printing has no print date just a copyright date. The second printing is marked "REPRINTED 1948" on the copyright page. The third printing is also marked "REPRINTED 1948". The only difference between the second and third printings is the publisher address on the title page. The second printing is 70 Bond Street, Toronto and the third is the new address 53 Avenue Road, Toronto. The fourth printing is marked "REPRINTED 1949". There are no other differences between the printings. The images below are from a copy of the third printing.

White Circle CD 357 - 1948

White Circle CD 357 back

The first White Circle printing of Trouble in July by Erskine Caldwell is also 1948 with no print date. The second printing is not indicated but an ad on page 192 with 1949 books identifies it as a later printing. The third and fourth printings are marked "REPRINTED 1951" and "REPRINTED 1952" respectively on the copyright page. Each printing has a different house ad on page 192. The other difference is slightly different colours on the covers. The covers of the first and second printings are below. The third and fourth printings front covers are virtually identical with the second. The back cover of the fourth is identical with the second but the blue of the back cover of the third printing is slightly different from the other printings.

White Circle 335 1st printing - 1948

White Circle 335 1st printing back

White Circle 335 2nd printing

White Circle 335 2nd printing back

White Circle 335 3rd printing back

Wednesday 1 December 2010

The Time Machine Part V

On November 8, 1895, five-and-a-half months after the the English edition of The Time Machine was published, Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen discovered X-rays. This was the start of an extraordinary decade of discovery in physics, ending with Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity. In between radioactivity (1896), the electron (1897) and the solution to the black-body problem, (i.e.: quanta, 1900).

How appropriate that The Time Machine was published at the beginning of that period. But when did the story take place? The internal evidence, when Wells refers to a real world event, is early 1894. A well known Wells scholar proposes 1901 - the beginning of the new century. He suggests this ties in neatly with the year 802,701 when most of the story takes place, this year being 800,800 years after 1901. Then we come to the abysmal movie version released in 2002. In addition to the obvious changes to the original story, the movie story takes place in 1899. Why? Who knows. More disturbing is the J.M. Dent Everyman movie-tie-in edition referring to 1899 while, of course, reprinting the original.

New York : Ace, nd 16th printing

Ace back

London, Dent, 2002 2nd printing

Dent back