I don’t outright collect vintage paperbacks, but I can’t help purchasing first editions of classics with provocative or, in some way, stunning cover illustrations. Consequently, I’m amassing a careless assortment, from John Steinbeck to Earl Stanley Gardner (the author of the Perry Mason series), F. Scott Fitzgerald to Ian Fleming. Given the advancing progress of the e-book, I figure paperbacks eventually will become a dinosaur. So I like that my library contains some of the early ones, from the golden years of publishing.
Regarding the provocative aspect of vintage covers, Dawn Powell (1896-1965), a critically acclaimed Ohio author (Hemingway said she was his favorite), wrote a book Angels on Toast that went into paperback “specially revised by the author” as A Man’s Affair (1956). The change attempted to encourage more buyers with a suggestive title and cover illustration. I don’t know if it increased sales or not, but today, now collectible,the first edition of A Man’s Affair sells for about $125.
2 thoughts on “I can’t resist vintage paperbacks”
Reminds me of the illustrations on the front of my old Nancy Drew books — it always captured some critical moment in the book, and certainly made it more intriguing. Doesn’t compare with Steinbeck, but there IS an Ohio connection!
Ah. Carolyn Keene a.k.a Mildred Wirt Benson. She worked for a Toledo newspaper into her 90s and didn’t like it when Nancy Drew fans showed up asking for her autograph. Her books did indeed have wonderful illustrations.
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