Covers are arranged alphabetically by publisher. Click the group of books beginning with:
Other Adult Publishers Alphabetically beginning with:
I define "sleaze" as using sensationalism to explore the borders of what is considered acceptable in the current literary environment. The closer a book, topic or cover gets to that line, the "sleazier" it is. If it crosses the line, it would pick up such monikers as "radical," "pornographic," "underground" or "XXX."
HOW the publisher accomplished the "Sleaze" image sometimes made all the difference. Many of these books published in the 50's and 60's might have been marketed as hardboiled mystery or romance novels, but the publisher believed that the work could make a larger profit by packaging it as a sexually oriented work.
I sort of put "Sleaze" into two categories. First is the type of publication used sex to sell books that might otherwise be categorized as mystery or romance. The second type of publisher wanted to sell "sex books" but couldn't because the U.S. Court System still had a very broad definition of "pornography," which was illegal. And so, they pressed the edges of that particular envelope very hard, and often had books questioned in court.
In the case of the first category (sort of the "R-rated" sleaze books) the largest publishers were Beacon and Midwood. Beacon was the first regular paperback-sized book published by the Universal Publishing Company, which also issued such labels as Uni Books, Intimate, Royal Giant, Stallion and Fiesta. The Beacon label would eventually give way to Softcover Library, starting somewhere around #B800, but it kept the same lighthouse colophon.
Midwood was published by Tower Publications. Beginning with #32-400, they are identified as Midwood Tower Books. Later in its run, Midwood would print more and more photo covers, often on "Double-Novels." These cover pictures tended to be generic presentations of scantily clad women, and usually had no bearing whatever to the works themselves. Collector Jim Mix tries to make some sense out of Midwood-Tower's strange numbering system. To read excerpts from his email to me, click HERE.
In the second category (the "sex books"), the largest publisher was Greenleaf, which had numerous labels (seen at the left). See my brief blog post about Greenleaf in the "Oddities" section.
By 1970, there was no discernable difference between "pornography," (i.e., works that had previously been deemed illegal) and "erotica." The "R-rated" publishers, such as Beacon and Midwood succumbed to the more "hard core" printing houses. These, in turn, took on a "no holds barred" approach, in which the books were mostly about sex and plot was just sort of secondary. The ones I've included as examples have such titles as "Schoolroom Stud," and "Seagoing Sexpot." You get the idea. The Adult labels of the 70's and 80's, such as the later Beeline and Liverpool Library books are not, in my opinion, candidates for "sleaze." They've crossed the line. Not that I'm necessarily opposed ... they're just not part of this venue.
If you really love sleaze covers, check out the "Sexy Digests" and the "Other Publishers" folders. You'll also find "sleazy cover art" in other sections of the database, like Popular Library, Gold Medal, various Avon publications, Berkley, Crest, and Monarch.
I've attempted to keep books together in the database within publishers' groupings. Therefore, I've moved several publishers OUT of the "Sleaze" folder that probably have a right to be here. For example, most covers by Zenith are pretty sleazy. But I simply couldn't bring myself to put "The Oral Roberts Reader" in this group, so I moved the whole publisher out and into the "Other Publishers" folder.
NOTE - In the "Other Adult Publishers" pages, I've put each publisher's name on the first image of the series. Only book numbers follow that. If you lose track, click the image and see the publisher's name in the picture's web address.
That section includes:
After Hours, All Star, Anchor, Athena, Bachelor, Barclay, Bedside, Bedtime, Beeline, Black Cat, Boudoir, Brandon House, Calga, Candlelight, Carousel, Challenge, Chariot, Classical Library, Corsair, Crescent, Dollar, Domino, Dove, Epic, Essex House, Exotik, Fabian, First Niter, France, French Library, Gaslight, Gold Star, Headline, Hi Hat, Holloway House, Imperial, Intimate, Jade, Kozy, Magenta, Magnet, Mercury, Merit, Moonglow, Newsstand Library (American and Canadian), Nite Time, Nitey Nite, Novel, Pad, Paragon, Parliament, PEC, Pike, Pillow, Playtime, Private Edition, Ram, Rapture, Raven, Regal, Rendezvous, Royal Line, Saber, Satan, Saturn, Scorpion, Stanley Library, Swan, Tiger, Traveler's Companion, Tropic, Tuxedo, Twilight, Uni, Unique, Vega, Venus Volume, Viceroy, Wee Hours ...
and many, many others.
The Sleaze Folder was Updated in April, 2017