Graphically illustrating the evolution of Vintage American Paperbacks
1939 through 1979
BookScans is a free online reference site listing tens of thousands of .jpg images, arranged numerically, by publisher, displaying how cover images and graphics changed during the early years of paperbacks. Click "Go to the Scans" to see the Database Index Page for easy navigation to the various sections.
Trying to find a particular vintage paperback? There are plenty of resources to help you find a title or author (see "Reference Library"). BookScans is designed to let you see what the book looks like.
Included in the BookScans database are images of significant back-cover artwork. This technique was especially prevalent with early Dell and later Popular Library books, as well as Bantam, Lion, and other publishers.
Also included in BookScans is a section that is made up of different covers for the same literary work. There are more than 7,000 entries in the "Interpretations" folder.
Robert Gaines has taken over the BookScans "TWINS" Section, which illustrates the use of "recycled" cover artwork during the Vintage Period. More than 7,000 scans of paperback and pulp magazine covers are included. *
I need collectors to help me fill in the blanks. Please help complete the BookScans Project by sending me scans of your vintage books. I'll be sure to give you credit for your contributions. Click the "About BookScans" link to learn more, and check out "Scans Needed to Complete the Project" to see which ones are needed most.
BookScans is NOT an adult-oriented web site. However, the inclusion of these books is vital for an accurate study of vintage paperback history and marketing techniques. While the covers for the "60's Sleaze" and "Sexy Digests" sections are pretty tame compared to today's adult standards, some viewer discretion is advised. Together, those two sections include 8,500 scans of adult books published in the 1950's and 60's.
1,522 scans added in June!
Many, many thanks to contributors of cover scans and information during the past four months:
Bill Taylor, Bob Gaines, Brian Anderson, Brian Maginnity, Chris Hoth, David Pelinka, Eden Thompson, Edwina Callan, Gunnar Olsen, Hooked on Books, Jeff Luthor, John Frick, Kathy Godfrey, Kees Buis, Kenneth R. Johnson, Lynn Munroe, Mick Cocksedge, Paul Daniels, Paul Eng, Robert Wiener, Steve Ericson, The Seattle Mystery Bookstore and Uilke Komrij.
Look for the new Update under Update 32.
The total number of unique images is now over 96,000.
That figure includes more than:
86,000 vintage paperback cover images
4,400 reference books & publications
6,000 pulp magazines, digest magazines and dime novels
I will update the BookScans web site three times a year: in February, June and October.
Many thanks to vintage paperback enthusiasts who have pointed out errors on the web site. I strive to keep the information as accurate as possible. Please keep emailing me your comments and criticisms.
The Reference Library
Please browse The BookScans Reference Library, which contains scans of more than 4,000 books, magazines and fanzines. Many thanks to Bob Gaines for his numerous contributions.
Free On-Line Reference Books:
BookScans is proud to host Kenneth R. Johnson's book Defunct Paperbacks, which joins his masterpiece The Digest Index as another definitive work on vintage paperback books. Click HERE.
Strange! Odd! Weird!
Check out Vintage Paperback Oddities!
Plus, more LINKS!
Can You Help Identify These Paintings?
BookScans needs your help figuring out where these illustrations were used. Please click HERE. Many thanks to Bob Gaines, Glenn Goggin, Jim Riggs and other viewers who helped us find out what became of these fascinating pieces of original cover art.
This Year's Upcoming Events!
August 13th through 16th, 2015
Hyatt Regency in downtown Columbus, Ohio
Visit their WEB SITE
Please report any broken links.
* (Twin covers found by Bob Gaines)
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This page was updated in June, 2015