Thursday 23 May 2024

Newspaper Novels Part IX

In my last Star Weekly post I discussed the abridged novels that, for 35 years, many readers in Canada bought each Saturday. A shortened novel every week! Who did the work of cutting? Did the editor have help? I think so. Can't see someone handling all the administrative chores of publishing as well as having the time to read and cut many thousands of words week after week.

Or maybe titles were used that had already been condensed. This is what the editor of the other Canadian insert, The Standard (Montreal), did, at least for a time. Omnibook was an American periodical that published four or five abridgements each month from December 1938 until ???. The Standard used Omnibook abridgements from at least 1953 to 1965. Here are three.

January 28, 1956 - No Thoroughfare by Denise Egerton (Hodder and Stoughton, 1954)

June 4, 1960 - Comanche Moon by William R. Cox (McGraw-Hill, 1959)

January 9 and 16, 1965 - The Wooden Horseshoe by Leonard Sanders (Doubleday, 1964)

Omnibook Vol. 7 No. 4 - March, 1945



The Standard - June 4, 1960

The Standard - January 28, 1956

The Standard - January 16, 1965

Tuesday 7 May 2024

Newspaper Novels Part VIII

In a recent post I listed nine American newspapers that used the Canadian Star Weekly novel insert each Saturday or Sunday in the forties and fifties. Here is one that at least for a couple of years published its own novels. 

The Bangor Daily News published their own novel inserts in at least 1939 and 1940 then started using the Star Weekly versions from 1941 to 1949. 

Here are three of the early novels.

June 3, 1939 - Blind Man's Year by Warwick Deeping (Cassell, 1937)

October 21, 1939 - The Dark Wing by Arthur Stringer (Bobbs-Merrill, 1939)

January 27, 1940 - The Dragon's Teeth by Ellery Queen (Frederick A. Stokes, 1939)

The Bangor Daily News - October 21, 1939

The Bangor Daily News - January 27, 1940

The Bangor Daily News -  June 3, 1939

Thursday 2 May 2024

Star Weekly Novel Part X

For many years the Toronto Star Weekly novel was described as "complete". I wonder how many readers took that to mean that they had the entire novel in their hands. Or did they understand that "complete" meant not serialized. If the latter they were right. Each Sunday the Star Weekly novel was approximately 45,000 words. This is novella territory, although there are titles described as novels that are shorter.

I imagine the vast majority of the Star Weekly novels were condensed. But in the last decade about 200 novels were published in two parts. At 90,000 words it's likely some were not abridged. 

Here is a discussion of one of the shortened novels.

Three Star Weekly novels:

July 31, 1954 - The Schirmer Inheritance by Eric Ambler (Heinemann, 1953)

April 12, 1948 - Search for a Scientist by Charles L. Leonard (Doubleday, 1947)

September 21, 1957 - Fogbound by Mark Derby. This appears to have been published nowhere else - either before or after the Star Weekly. We can't know if it was condensed from the manuscript.

Star Weekly Novel - April 24, 1948

Star Weekly Novel - July 31, 1954

Star Weekly Novel - September 21, 1957

Tuesday 23 April 2024

Star Weekly Novel Part IX

So far I've found 21 US newspapers that had Sunday editions with complete novel inserts. The range of years is 1919 to 1967. Nine of those newspapers used the Canadian Star Weekly novel, just changing the name of the newspaper on the front page. Here are the nine:

Akron Beacon Journal
Bangor Daily News
Bangor Sunday Commercial
Chicago Sun, The
Long Island Sunday Press
Newark Star-Ledger
Philadelphia Record
Sunday Patriot News [Harrisburg, PA]
Washington Post

Note all are in six Northeastern and Midwestern states - New York, New Jersey, Maine, Ohio, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Washington DC. The other twelve newspapers are also in these states plus Michigan. Odd that none of the newspapers in the other 41 states appear to have published novel inserts.

Here are three Star Weekly novels.

June 2, 1945 - Angel Without Wings by Martha Ellen Wright (Doubleday, Doran, 1943)

October 21, 1944 - Captain Millett's Island by Katherine Newlin Burt (McCrae Smith, 1944)

October 10, 1953 - The Case of the Hesitant Hostess by Erle Stanley Gardner (W. Morrow, 1953)

Star Weekly Novel - October 21, 1944

Star Weekly Novel - June 2, 1945

Star Weekly Novel - October 10, 1953

Sunday 14 April 2024

Star Weekly Novel Part VIII

The Star Weekly's fiction editor was responsible for the Star Weekly Novel published every Saturday for 35 years. For a significant part of that range the editor was Gwen Cowley. In addition to the novel the Star Weekly published short stories and serials. A 1946 rejection letter to an author describes what she looked for in choosing a work for publishing.

"We like our stories to be full of action and colour, and also to have good strong plots. Our most urgent need at the moment is for good romances, sports, humor and adventure type of story. Our best length for short stories is around 3,500 words. We also use a novel a week, which must condense to around 46,000 words in length and also serials which run from 18,000 to 30,000 words."

Here are three of the novels.

August 1, 1953 - That Girl in Nice by Maysie Greig (Wm. Collins, 1954)

November 8, 1952 - Brave Interval by Elizabeth Yates (Coward, McCann, 1952)

February 23, 1946 - Java Orchid by Helen Eva Yates (first and only publication, not published in book form)

Star Weekly Novel - February 23, 1946

Star Weekly Novel - November 3, 1952

Star Weekly Novel - August 1, 1953

Wednesday 10 April 2024

Star Weekly Novel Part VII

From the earliest Star Weekly Novel that I've seen (May 1938) until October 1956 the art work on the front cover was virtually identical. A young, impossibly perfect Anglo-Saxon woman is always on the cover. For most of that period she is the only person shown. Doesn't matter what the genre - romance, western, historical, crime or thriller. 

Finally in November 1956 the style changed and the scene matched the novel. The other change is the length is reduced from 15 1/2" to 14". Here are two examples, both Agatha Christie novels. The earlier cover is a perfect example - a young woman holding a kitten illustrating a story called "Blood Will Tell".

Star Weekly - December 25, 1954

Star Weekly - December 28, 1957

Friday 5 April 2024

Newspaper Novels Part VII

The three front covers in my last post are from The Philadelphia Inquirer's Sunday novel insert. They share three characteristics: a man and a woman, the woman is looking away and the man is looking at the woman. Tension in the air. The woman has doubts and the man is concerned. What about the rest of the Inquirers that I own? Here is an inventory.

  • one woman, no man       6
  • more than one woman, no man     4
  • one woman and one man     19
  • one woman, two or more men      7    
  • more than one woman, one or more men      3

Thirty-two have one woman. All the rest have at least two women including four where the women have equal status and three with the focus on one woman. The message is clear. Women were the likely readers of the inserts. Further evidence is Book of the Month Club 1947 readership which was 65% women, 35% men. This remains the case today generally although there is not as large a difference.

Here are three women only covers.

January 24, 1943 - Ladies in Boxes by Gelett Burgess (Alliance Book, 1942)

November 28, 1943 - The Quiet Lady by Norman Collins (Wm. Collins, 1942 as Anna)

May 23, 1943 - Air Force Girl by Renee Shann (Carlton House, 1942)

                 The Philadelphia Inquirer - January 24, 1943

The Philadelphia Inquirer - November 28, 1943

The Philadelphia Inquirer - May 23, 1943

Monday 1 April 2024

Newspaper Novels Part VI

In 1940 the population of the US was 131.7 million in 34.9 million households (1940 census). Pennsylvania's population was 9.9 million, second in the country after New York and the estimated number of households was 2.67 million using an average of 3.7 people per household. Based on 1938 and 1944 data I estimate Sunday circulation of The Philadelphia Inquirer was around 1.05 million in 1940 for a yearly total of 54.6 million. Some of that circulation was likely in other states like New Jersey and New York but, assuming all in Pennsylvania, an amazing 40% of households received the Sunday edition.

In 1940 the Book-of-the-Month Club (BOTMC) sold 3.79 million books to 404.5 thousand subscribers. BOTMC had 67% of the book club market (in 1947) so the total book club sales was close to 5.65 million books.

This means that the Inquirer Sunday insert "Gold Seal Novel" in 1940 reached 10 times as many Pennsylvania households as the book clubs' entire US sales. How many more were actually read is anyone's guess. Here are three more from 1941.

July 27, 1941 - Only Love Lasts by Rosamond Du Jardin (first published ?)

May 4, 1941 - Women Will Be Doctors by Hannah Lees (Random House, 1940)

October 5, 1941 - A Star For Susan by Frances Shelley Wees (Macrae-Smith, 1940)

The Philadelphia Inquirer - July 27, 1941

The Philadelphia Inquirer - May 4, 1941

The Philadelphia Inquirer - October 5, 1941

Friday 29 March 2024

Newspaper Novels Part V

I have 40 of approximately 700 of The Philadelphia Inquirer Sunday novel inserts. In that small sample there are 15 artists whose work is seen on the front cover and inside. One colour predominates, the images have a weighty look and, with five exceptions, the front cover art is not combined with text. This contrasts with the look of the Canadian Star Weekly novel inserts from those years. Well into the 1950s the Star Weekly covers looked like this example (artist William Book) regardless of the genre.

One of the artists is Miriam Troop (1917-?) whose work is also seen on two 1940 Saturday Evening Post covers at the young age of 23.

The Philadelphia Inquirer - June 27, 1943

The Philadelphia Inquirer - November 7, 1943

The Philadelphia Inquirer - December 14, 1941

Star Weekly - May 8, 1943

Thursday 28 March 2024

Newspaper Novels Part IV

Part III discussed my estimate of the surprising number of copies of novels that were published by The Philadelphia Inquirer as Sunday inserts over 14 years - 700 million. I use an estimate of 1,000,000 average circulation for the Sunday edition to arrive at that figure. This is based on actual figures that range from 1.035 million in 1938 to 1.093 million in 1947.

I have identified 430 of the estimated 700 Inquirer issues. There are 295 authors in that group with Georges Simenon first with 19 titles and Ben Ames Williams and Faith Baldwin second with five. How many of these authors are around (i.e. in print) today? Simenon certainly is - all 75 of his Maigret novels are  available from Penguin. Rex Stout, Stefan Zweig, Agatha Christie and F. Scott Fitzgerald (The Great Gatsby - May 23, 1937) are four more obvious ones. It takes some research to find others. I would guess a few dozen at most.

Here are three authors who are among the roughly 270 forgotten.

October 12, 1941 - Our Second Murder by Torrey Chanslor (Frederick A. Stokes, 1941)

May 11, 1941 - Little Hercules by Francis Wallace (M. S. Mill, 1939)

August 24 1941 - Hometown Angel by Reita Lambert (Macrae-Smith, 1940)

The Philadelphia Inquirer - October 12, 1941

The Philadelphia Inquirer - May 11, 1941

The Philadelphia Inquirer - August 24, 1941

Monday 25 March 2024

Newspaper Novels Part III

Continuing the story from part II here are three more weekly newspaper novel supplements from The Philadelphia Inquirer, all from August 1941.

The Inquirer (1829-), as far as I can tell, published the Gold Seal Novels on Sunday from May 1934 to September 1949 with no issues from May 1946 to April 1948 - approximately 700 issues. I have been able to identify 430 of them. During these years Sunday circulation was likely averaging close to a million copies per week, again, based on what I can find on line. This means around 700 million copies of the novels were sold by this one newspaper alone.

What was the impact of this on the publishing world? For example, what were the royalty terms for the publisher/author and what did booksellers think of this competition? I can find no answers to these and other questions.

August 3, 1941 - Sinfully Rich by Hulbert Footner (Harper and Brothers, 1940)

August 17, 1941 - A Face For a Clue by Georges Simenon (Artheme Fayard, 1931 as Le chien jaune)

August 31, 1941 - Mooney Moves Around by Kerry O'Neil (Reynal & Hitchcock, 1939)

Philadelphia Inquirer - August 3, 1941

Philadelphia Inquirer - August 17, 1941

Philadelphia Inquirer - August 31, 1941

Saturday 23 March 2024

Newspaper Novels Part II

In part I I introduced mid-century weekly novel newspaper inserts. I recently picked up 40 examples from The Philadelphia Inquirer who published around 700 from 1934 to 1949. Unlike some of their US competitors who used Canadian produced supplements the Inquirer's were unique. Here is one example - Georges Simenon's A Crime in Holland from November 30, 1941.

The insert is 20 pages (including front and back covers) with the cover and internal illustrations by Ben Dale (1889-1951) and an advertisement on the last page. The novel is quite short yet approximately 29% abridged for the insert. The dimensions are 27 1/2mm (10 7/8") x 36mm (14 1/4").

Simenon (1903-1989) was the most popular Inquirer author with at least 20 novels.

The Philadelphia Inquirer - November 30, 1941

Saturday 27 January 2024

Avon Books in Canada Part III

In part II I introduced a short-lived (1952-3) series of paperbacks from Avon Canada. Here's more about them.

The early numbers (at least to C762) in the series do not have a price on the covers. Later books have the price (35 cents) on both covers. All titles have “Printed in Canada” on the back cover and the copyright page. The Canadian subsidiary of American News Corporation (474 Wellington Street West in Toronto), the owner of Avon, is the distributor. The number on all books is on 
the top left front cover and lower spine.

Avon (Canadian printing) C788
(US printing number 467)

Avon (Canadian printing) C788 back

Avon (Canadian printing) C792
(US printing number 373)

Avon (Canadian printing) C792 back

Avon (Canadian printing) C798 - May 1953
(US printing number 504)

Avon (Canadian printing) C798 back

Monday 22 January 2024

Avon Books in Canada Part II

Part I described the introduction of Avon paperbacks into Canada in late 1941. Here I'll skip ahead a decade to a short lived series of Avon titles that were renumbered for the Canadian market. 

There are 62 titles starting at C751 and ending at C812, 58 of which I have identified. Most have no print date but the few I've seen that do are spring 1953. I'm guessing the series ran from 1952 to 1953. They sold for 35 cents.

The US numbers range from 300 to 526. There are also four titles from Avon's Eton subsidiary in the series.

Here are a few examples.

Avon (Canadian printing) C757
(US printing number 366)

Avon (Canadian printing) C769
(US printing number 474)

Avon (Canadian printing) C775
(US printing number 481)

Avon (Canadian printing) C762
(US printing number 455)

Sunday 21 January 2024

Heed the Thunder

I haven't published a post about Toronto paperback publisher Export Publishing Enterprises in a while. But a couple of recent bookseller listings for one of Export's books has inspired.

Export's primary imprint was "News Stand Library". Between May 1948 and January 1951 Export published 159 News Stand titles. Number 54 is Jim Thompson's Heed the Thunder, his second book, originally published in 1946 (New York: Greenberg).

Thanks to Thompson's reputation the two listed copies are expensive - here at $500CAN (this bookseller happens to be a 5 minute drive from our house) and here at $442CAN. This is one of the few Export titles still in print and is abridged at 160 pages (the Amazon listed edition in print is 352 pages). 

In common with many of Export's books there are different states for the book. One has red brown inner covers and the other brown. Cover art by D. Rickard.

News Stand Library 54 June 1949