Friday, July 10, 2015

[Link] Pulp’s Big Moment: How Emily Brontë met Mickey Spillane

by Louis Menand

Back when people had to leave the house if they wanted to buy something, the biggest problem in the book business was bookstores. There were not enough of them. Bookstores were clustered in big cities, and many were really gift shops with a few select volumes for sale. Publishers sold a lot of their product by mail order and through book clubs, distribution systems that provide pretty much the opposite of what most people consider a fun shopping experience—browsing and impulse buying.

Book publishers back then didn’t always have much interest in books as such. They were experts at merchandising. They manufactured a certain number of titles every year, advertised them, sold as many copies as possible, and then did it all over the next year. Sometimes a book would be reprinted and sold again. Print runs were modest and so, generally, were profits.

Then, one day, there was a revolution. On June 19, 1939, a man named Robert de Graff launched Pocket Books.

Read the full article: http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/01/05/pulps-big-moment