Monday, April 20, 2009

Blue Books / People's Pocket Series

I have had several people comment or ask questions about a small, incomplete set of books that I have. My last posting for the Read-a-thon noted that I was reading one for my last book. Kent State University Library has a collection of them and their description of of the publisher is reprinted here:

Emanuel Haldeman-Julius (1888-1951) began publishing his "Little Blue Books" in 1919 in order for classic works of literature to be available for a much lower price than usual, at five or ten cents each. His association with the Socialist party led him to buy the Socialist paper Appeal to Reason along with their printing press, which he used to publish a number of his books. The books became widely popular, and by 1949, over 300,000,000 had been sold. The series includes over a thousand titles spanning a wide range of material, from novels to philisophical tracts to advice manuals. The first several hundred books include mostly previously published pieces, but the series later expanded to include original works as well. Some of these are edited versions of more extensive pieces and some are completely original.

I have discovered a Facebook page for collectors, a fabulous collecting site, another collectors page, some for sale, a curious bio about the couple and an online edition of his novel "Dust", and, of course, a Wikipedia article.

I often wondered why I was drawn to them and then saw that Harlan Ellison remembers them from his mis-spent youth. Guess I'm in good company.

I'll be posting my modest collection on E-bay shortly as I clean out stuff from my apartment

1 comment:

Bybee said...

Oh cool...I thought from the name that it was children's lit. Surprised that they didn't garner a mention in A Gentle Madness, which I just finished reading. Thanks for this post!