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5-digit Numbers







During the war years, all the paperback industry could do was try to hang on and survive paper shortages and other hardships. In 1945, tremendous changes occurred very rapidly. New American Library (Penguin/Signet) laid out very ambitious plans that would eventually see them leap-frog over Pocket Books to become the leading provider of paperbacks in the U.S.  One of the cornerstones of the plan was accomplished through a handshake agreement with Fawcett Publications to provide distribution of their books. In the deal, Fawcett, which was a huge publisher of magazines and comic books, was prohibited from printing paperback reprints of their own for at least a decade. Five years later, Fawcett got around the deal by launching Gold Medal, which printed Paperback Originals rather than reprints. When the “deal” expired in 1955, they launched Crest, a new label that would handle reprinted works.

They looked very much like Gold Medal books, about the same uniform width (for the 25¢ volumes, anyway) and the same “tall” format. The covers were also very similar, and the cover art on some books tended to be subtly provocative (and, at times, not so subtle).

The numbering began with #114 and continued unbroken, with lettered volumes interspersed to denote thicker, higher priced books. Crest was the first publisher to print a mass market paperback for a dollar: The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, by William Shirer.

There would eventually be Paperback Originals printed by Crest, as well. It is notable that some of the reprints published by the company were previously PBO’s printed by Gold Medal.












The Crest folder was last updated in January, 2016