Cover image for The great American paperback : an illustrated tribute to legends of the book
The great American paperback : an illustrated tribute to legends of the book
Lupoff, Richard A., 1935-
Personal Author:
First American edition.
Publication Information:
Portland, Or. : Collectors Press, [2001]

Physical Description:
319 pages : color illustrations ; 32 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
Z479 .L86 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize Non-Circ

On Order



Few realized in 1938 that a revolution was about to take place. A little book appeared in drugstores and on newsstands that would fit into the jacket pocket of an ordinary person. There was no real binding, no dust jacket, just a colorful, laminated cover. It was an experiment, and the pocket book was born. From the glittering images of square-jawed cowboys to the gritty slum-dwellers of social realism, "The Great American Paperback" is a bountiful museum of over 600 brilliant covers, each of them a miniature gem, evocative of the fashions and attitudes of its era. This book is destined to become a classic among librarians, graphic designers, and bibliophiles alike.

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

This pair of paeans to the paperback offers two diverse focuses, with some crossover. Culture historian Lupoff's heavily illustrated account traces the paperback's roots to the 1800s but focuses primarily on the era from 1920 onward, with emphasis on the many players who took the penny dreadful and morphed it into a legitimate publishing form to create empires. Stryker, executive director of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Historical Society in San Francisco, focuses on the tawdry side of paperback publishing, which in some cases was an extension of the pornography trade tailored for the reading middle class. Though some of these pulp books were penned by serious scribes trying to elevate writings with a homosexual focus into a legitimate art form, most failed to get beyond the sleazy cheap thrills for which they were intended. Many of the trashier ones e.g., Hot Pants Homo, Lesbo Lodge were so bad that they have become kitschy collector's items. Both volumes are profusely illustrated with loads of covers from the sublime to the ridiculous, making them quite browsable. Libraries needing a straight (no pun intended) history of paperback publishing should consider Lupoff's title, strangely available as a pricey hardcover, while those serving gay communities will do well with Stryker. Michael Rogers, "Library Journal" (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.