Little Leather Library

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alright, you're going to argue that these aren't paperbacks at all, but they were (with the exception of the first two books in the series, which were real leather). They were the first inexpensive books sold in the United States. Published by Albert Boni, Harry Scherman and Maxwell Sackheim, the run encompassed 101 books printed between 1920 and 1924. All were green, and measured 3 inches by 4 inches. The red books seen here were printed by the follow-on company, Robert K. Haas, Inc.  Both firms were in New York.

The books were sold in Woolworth's and through ads in National Geographic magazine. In some cases, they were given away free in cereal boxes and as other incentives.

The "fake leather" covers were murder on the pages themselves ... or at least the front and back pages, which in some cases have become so brittle and discolored that they are barely readable. One other problem is that the covers overlapped the pages on all three edges, and since most books have been stored upright, the bottom edges are usually curled.

Some of the books were illustrated ...  a few profusely so, such as the book seen here on Mother Goose Rhymes.

(Click an image to enlarge.)