Sunday, 6 November 2022
Saturday, 5 November 2022
There are nearly 650 posts on this blog. Unsurprisingly, given the blog's masthead, the vast majority are about Canadian paperbacks from the 1940s and 1950s. What isn't explicitly said is that these books are unique offerings from Canadian publishers, not Canadian printings of US or UK published editions.
I've done a few posts about these other Canadian paperbacks, but here is a first in-depth look at Avon Books.
On November 21, 1941 the first twelve Avon Books went on sale in the US. Two weeks later, in the December 6, 1941 issue of Publishers Weekly (PW), the “new, fast-selling Avon Pocket-Size Books” are advertised for sale. Readers learn that the “entire first edition was sold out!” and a second is now in preparation. The advertisement doesn’t mention where the books are sold but part of that first sold-out edition may have been in Canada.
Avon Pocket-Size Books arrived in Canada at the same time they were first seen in US bookstores, department stores, drug stores, cigar shops and news stands. An advertisement in the Canadian equivalent of PW, Quill & Quire (Vol. 7, No. 11, December, 1941), announced that the Canadian branch of British publisher Longmans, Green “takes great pleasure in announcing that they have been appointed [Avon’s] exclusive Canadian representatives.” The US editions did not have a cover price but the Canadian advertisement notes they will sell for 39¢. Avon joined Pocket Books, whose agent was also Longmans, Green and had been selling in Canada for two years, as well as Penguin and Wm. Collins’s White Circle imprint from the UK.
In these early years the Avons sold in Canada were imported US editions so there is no way to distinguish them from copies sold in the US. Here are a few examples.
Friday, 4 November 2022
Steven Hayward, Globe & Mail February 25, 2012
This comment in a review of a historical novel caught my attention.
Do any of Toronto publisher Harlequin's 45 historical novels by 30 authors that showed up in Canadian newsstands and drug stores between 1949 and 1959 "reclaim the past"? I don't know. I haven't read any and would need some training to assess how a novel might "reclaim the past". So I'll use the comment as an excuse to list the novels and show off a few covers.
Thursday, 3 November 2022
Wednesday, 2 November 2022
I recently learned (thanks Morgan) about an early Canadian mass market paperback that I did not know existed. It joins another book in a series that I had always thought was the only one published.
The publishing history for these two books is confusing to say the least. Both title pages list the publisher as "The National Publishing Company" of Toronto. On unnumbered page seven National is repeated with a 1945-46 copyright date. The inside front cover notes two other companies. The first is "Century Publications Ltd." with a 1946 copyright date below that. Below that is "Printed by Duchess Printing and Publishing Co. Limited", also in Toronto. The cover, inside front cover and spine have a circle with "A Superior Publication" around a maple leaf. The back cover has a larger version of the circle. Both books are 256 pages. Neither book has signed art work which is by the same artist.
The two books are:
The Damned Lover by Roswell Williams. First published 1933, The Macaulay Company of New York.
Some Take a Lover by Ann Du Pre (pseudonym for Grace Lumpkin). First published 1933, The Macaulay Company.
The Duchess/Superior connection is seen on a number of other books. For example see one here and a non-Duchess Superior here. But these are the only two (so far) with National as the publisher. The Century listing is a mystery. There was a Century in Chicago that published paperbacks circa 1945-1947 but not these two books.