23                      294


294 Dust Jacket


Color Chart from inside dj flap



"Not to be introduced into the British Empire or the U.S.A."













This was the first "mass market" book in the world to use the familiar format (see "Golden Mean" in another Oddity).

The company was started in 1932 by John Holroyd-Reece from England and Germans Max Christian Wegner and Kurt Enoch. They settled on the name because the word "albatross" was the same in almost all western languages. The printing offices were in Hamburg with the editorial offices in Paris. The "mass market" concept, of course, had been around for almost 100 years already with another German company, Tauchnitz. But the format, quality and content were so well received at Albatross, that they were able to acquire Tauchnitz.

Like Tauchnitz, the books stated on the covers that they were not intended for distribution in Britain or the U.S. The concept was that there would be no direct competition in those countries. Despite what you might think about copyright agreements, royalties were paid to authors, as was the case at Tauchnitz. The new format obviously enticed them away from the older company, and James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, Aldous Huxley and Dashiell Hammett were featured in early works.

Albatross put out a "Crime Club" series, and was instrumental in bringing the mystery novel into paperback. Also, there were a few books, deemed controversial at the time, which were distributed in plain wrappers (some were printed by The Odyssey Press but had Albatross book numbers), such as James Joyce's Ulysses and D.H. Lawrence's Lady Chatterley's Lover.

Kurt Enoch was one of the most influential characters in the history of the paperback book, but there was very little written about the man. After "fleeing Hitler's racial laws," he worked in publishing elsewhere in Europe before making his way to the U.S. in 1940. Eventually, he became president of the U.S. branch of Penguin, and he helped establish New American Library, where he served as president until 1960. You can read his New York Times obituary HERE.