Monday, July 30, 2018

Happy National Paperback Day!

It’s July 30th, otherwise known in the United States as National Paperback Day (not that every other day isn’t National Paperback Day here at Killer Covers). Unlike last year, when the occasion caught me off-guard, I knew to prepare this time around, and put aside the softcover front shown below specifically for its present use.

As a younger man, I was a huge consumer of paperback releases, filling what bookcases I had back then with inexpensive works by Ross Macdonald, Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, Linda Barnes, Gore Vidal, Larry Niven, E.L. Doctorow, and many others. These days, my tastes run primarily to hardcover editions, which now vastly outnumber the paperbacks on my shelves. However, as I’ve sought in recent years to expand my knowledge of crime, mystery, and spy fiction from the early to mid-20th century, my paperbacks collection has begun to grow again. Those are the books I reach for most often when packing for summer travel, if only to lighten my load.

It’s also many of those older paperbacks that wind up being featured on this page, and that I celebrated recently in an article for CrimeReads about vintage cover artists.

UPDATE: It was from Penguin Classics’ Twitter page that I learned why July 30 was chosen as the date to honor paperback books. According to a post there, “Today marks the anniversary of the first Penguin paperbacks, which were published on this day in 1935.”

A Knife Is Silent, by “David Kent,” aka Herman Hoffman Birney (Lion Library, 1956). Cover illustration by Mort Künstler.

1 comment:

Curt said...

I didn't know there was a day for paperbacks, but they definitely deserve one!