from the future-reading dept.
Clay Latimer writes at IBD that Ian Ballantine, called by many the father of the mass-market paperback, helped change American reading habits in the 1940s and '50s founding no fewer than three prestigious paperback houses — Penguin USA, Bantam Books and Ballantine Books. But Ballantine's greatest influence on mass culture was publishing science-fiction paperback originals, with writers including Arthur C. Clarke, Ray Bradbury, Philip K. Dick, Theodore Sturgeon, and Frederik Pohl and publishing the first authorized paperback editions of J.R.R. Tolkien's books. "These were great classics of world fiction," says Loren Glass. "He published in original form some of the greatest works in the golden age of science fiction. One of the interesting things about Ballantine is that he was not only a businessman trying to make money in books; he was a student of literature and publishing, and something of an intellectual."
Turning serious science fiction into a literary genre ranks among Ballantine's greatest feats. Prior to Ballantine Books, science fiction barely existed in novel form. He changed that with the 1953 publication of "Fahrenheit 451," the firm's 41st book. "That was obviously a key moment in the history of science-fiction publishing," Glass says. In 1965, when Tolkien's rights to his "Lord of the Rings" trilogy lapsed, Ace Books published his books without paying royalties and Tolkien responded by conducting a personal campaign against Ace. Tolkien began to urge the fans who wrote to him to inform them that the American copies were pirated: "I am now inserting in every note of acknowledgement to readers in the U.S.A. a brief note informing them that Ace Books is a pirate, and asking them to inform others." Ballantine quickly bought the rights and included Tolkien's back-cover note: "Those who approve of courtesy (at least) to living authors will purchase it and no other."
The book publisher Penguin is printing more copies of George Orwell's dystopian classic "1984" in response to a sudden surge of demand.
On Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning the book was #1 on Amazon's computer-generated list of best-selling books.
[...] "We put through a 75,000 copy reprint this week. That is a substantial reprint and larger than our typical reprint for '1984,'" a Penguin spokesman told CNNMoney Tuesday evening.
[...] According to Nielsen BookScan, which measures most but not all book sales in the United States, "1984" sold 47,000 copies in print since Election Day in November. That is up from 36,000 copies over the same period the prior year.
When the submitter visited amazon.com, the book was ranked #3.
- Los Angeles Times
- The New York Times (may be pay-walled)
- The Washington Post (owned by the founder of amazon.com)
- The Guardian
- The Man Who Invented the Science Fiction Paperback