Bantam Books has published romance novels since the late 1960s. was formed in 1945 as a paperback publisher. It has been purchased over the years by numerous corporations. Bantam books exist today as a division of Random House Publishers, one of the “Big Five” publishing houses.
One of the First Paperback Publishers in the USA
Bantam Books: History
Bantam Books was formed in 1945 by Walter B. Pitkin, Jr., Sidney B. Kramer, and Ian and Betty Ballantine, with funding from Grosset & Dunlap and Curtis Publishing Company. Bantam, like most early paperback publishers, began as a mass-market reprinter of hardcover books, with some original paperbacks as well.
Later on, the company expanded into trade paperback and hardcover books, including original works often reprinted in-house as mass-market editions.
Mergers and Aquisitions
Bantam was failing when Oscar Dystel, formerly of Esquire and Coronet magazines, came on the scene in 1954 to manage it. At the end of 1955, the company was once more profitable. Dystel retired as chairman in 1980.
By that time, Bantam was the largest publisher of paperbacks, had over 15% of the market, and exceeded $100 million in sales.
In 1964, Grosset & Dunlap acquired full ownership of Bantam. The publishers would change hands over the years until it was purchased by Bertelsmann, a German global corporation, in 1980.
Notable Books Published by Bantam
In 1958, Bantam Books started the Bantam Classics series. They reprinted classic works, mainly in the public domain. These unabridged classic books were intended to increase backlist sales and reintroduce the works to new audiences. Bantam released more than a hundred books in the series.
Bantam published the entire original run of the “Choose Your Own Adventure” series of children’s books in the 1970s and 1980s.
They also published the first original novels based upon the Star Trek franchise, about a dozen books between 1970 and 1982.
Bantam and Romance
In the 1970s, Bantam published previously released romances as paperbacks. After Bertelsmann purchased the company in 1980, Bantam became a big name in the romance market—a paperback and category romance publisher with the imprints Loveswept category romance and Sweet Dreams for teens.
Red Rose Romance
From 1970 to 1974, Bantam issued 45 titles under their Red Rose Romance category line. These consisted of both reprinted and original works. Most of these were standard contemporary romances, but there were also some Gothics and historicals. I Fewer than 50 books was released under this name.
Clarissa Ross (aka Dan Ross) was a frequent author with the line.
Barbara Cartland Reprints
For over ten years, Bantam would release hundreds of Barbara Cartland romances with covers illustrated by Francis Marshall. These books were originally published in the UK by Corgi or Pan Publishers, then later in North America by Bantam.
Full-Length Books by Big Authors
Authors like Amanda Quick (Jayne Ann Krentz), Suzanne Robinson,
From 1989 to 2001, Bantam published around 200 full-length works of romance or romantic fiction under their Fanfare imprint. These included both contemporary and historical books.
Authors who wrote for Bantam Fanfare included Rosanne Bittner, Tami Hoag, Iris Johansen, Sandra Hill, and Teresa Medeiros.
- Island Of The Swans – Ciji Ware, March 1989
- Mothers – Gloria Goldreich, October 1989
- Montana Woman – Roseanne Bittner, March 1990
- Circle Of Pearls – Rosalind Laker, June 1990
- Texas! Lucky – Sandra Brown, July 1990
- The Bonnie Blue – Joan Elliot Pickart, July 1990
- Embers Of The Heart – Rosanne Bittner, August 1990
- Shadows And Lace – Teresa Medeiros, September 1990
- Magic – Tami Hoag, October 1990
- Texas! Chase – Sandra Brown, January 1991
- Waiting Wives – Christina Harland, January 1991
- Heaven Sent – Pamela Morsi, January 1991
- Bad Billy Culver – Judy Gill, 1991
- Star-Crossed Lovers – Kay Hooper, February 1991
- The Wind Dancer – Iris Johansen, February 1991
- River’s Dream – Virginia Lynn, February 1991
- Scandal – Amanda Quick, February 1991
- Late Night Dancing – Diana Silber, February 1991
- The Golden Barbarian – Iris Johansen, March 1991
- Season Of Shadows – Mary Mackey, March 1991
- Across A Wine-Dark Sea – Jessica Bryan, April 1991
- Cutter’s Woman – Virginia Lynn, April 1991
- Dreams to Keep – Nomi Berger, May 1991
- Schemers, The – Lois Wolfe, May 1991
- The Princess – Celia Brayfield, June 1991
- From A Far Country – Joan Dial, June 1991
- Storm Winds – Iris Johansen, June 1991
- Bright Captivity – Eugenia Price, June 1991
- Magic – Tami Hoag, June 1991
- Unsuitable Company – Judith Green, July 1991
- In The Shadow Of The Mountains – Rosanne Bittner, July 1991
- A Lasting Fire – Beverly Byrne, July 1991
- The Matchmaker – Kay Hooper, July 1991
- The Swansea Destiny – Fayrene Preston, July 1991
- Texas! Sage – Sandra Brown, August 1991
- Rainbow – Patricia Potter, August 1991
- Genuine Lies – Nora Roberts, August 1991
- Bad Billy Culver – Judy Gill, August 1991
- Touched by Thorns – Susan Bowden, September 1991
- Forbidden – Susan Johnson, September 1991
- Reap The Wind – Iris Johansen, October 1991
- Courting Miss Hattie – Pamela Morsi, October 1991
- Circle Of Pearls – Rosalind Laker, October 1991
- Lawless – Patricia Potter, November 1991
- Heather And Velvet – Teresa Medeiros, November 1991
- Rendezvous – Amanda Quick, November 1991
- Forever – Theresa Weir, November 1991
- 22 Indigo Place – Sandra Brown, December 1991
- Thunder On The Plains – Rosanne Bittner, December 1991
- The Flames Of Vengeance – Beverly Byrne, December 1991
- Redeeming Love – Francine Rivers, December 1991
- Thunder On The Plains – Rosanne Bittner, January 1992
- Desert Heat – Alexandra Thorne, January 1992
- A Rose Without Thorns – Lucy Kidd, January 1992
- Lady Gallant – Suzanne Robinson, January 1992
- Highland Rebel – Stephanie Bartlett, February 1992
- Lights Along The Shore – Diane Austell, February 1992
- Lady Hellfire – Suzanne Robinson, March 1992
- Song Of The Wolf – Rosanne Bittner, March 1992
- Summer’s Knight – Virginia Lynn, March 1992
- Intimate Strangers – Alexandra Thorne. March 1992
- Lucky’s Lady – Tami Hoag, April 1992
- Season Of Shadows – Mary Mackey, April 1992
- Fortune’s Child – Pamela Simpson, April 1992
- The Firebirds – Beverly Byrne, May 1992
- Lightning – Patricia Potter, May 1992
- Fortune’s Child – Pamela Simpson, May 1992
- Princess, The – Celia Brayfield, June 1992
- Highland Flame – Stephanie Bartlett, June 1992
- Whispered Heat – Anna Eberhardt, June 1992
- Heather And Velvet – Teresa Medeiros, June 1992
- Ravished – Amanda Quick, July 1992
- Sinful – Susan Johnson, August 1992
- Blaze – Susan Johnson, August 1992
- Dawn On A Jade Sea – Jessica Bryan, September 1992
- Golden Touch, The – Robin James, Laura London, Sharon Curtis, Tom Curtis, September 1992
- Having It All – Maeve Haran, October 1992
- Lyon’s Prize – Virginia Lynn, October 1992
- Divine Evil – Nora Roberts, October 1992
- Still Waters – Tami Hoag, November 1992
- The Dreamtime Legacy – Norma Martyn, November 1992
- Sarah’s Sin – Tami Hoag, November 1992
- Wicked Company – Ciji Ware, November 1992
- Love For All Time, A – Dorothy Garlock, December 1992
- Smoke Eyes – Maureen Reynolds, December 1992
- Princess Of The Veil – Helen Mittermeyer, January 1993
- Last Summer – Theresa Weir, January 1993
- Private Scandals – Christy Cohen, January 1993
- The Tiger Prince – Iris Johansen, January 1993
- Blue Willow – Deborah Smith, February 1993
- Mask Of Night – Lois Wolfe, February 1993
- Outlaw Hearts – Rosanne Bittner, March 1993
- The Last Highwayman – Katherine O’Neal, March 1993
- In A Rogue’s Arms – Virginia Lynn, April 1993
- Lady And The Champ, The – Fran Baker, April 1993
- In A Rogue’s Arms – Virginia Lynn, April 1993
- Once an Angel – Teresa Medeiros, April 1993
- The Texan’s Bride – Geralyn Dawson, May 1993
- Silver Flame – Susan Johnson, May 1993
- Mirror, Mirror – Pamela Simpson, May 1993
- The Wizard Of Seattle – Kay Hooper, May 1993
- Painted Lady, The – Lucia Grahame, June 1993
- Testimony, The – Robin James, July 1993
- Scruples II – Judith Krantz, July 1993
- Lady Valiant – Suzanne Robinson, July 1993
- Mask Of Night – Lois Wolfe, July 1993
- Stranger In My Arms – R.J. Kaiser, August 1993
- Twice In A Lifetime – Christy Cohen, August 1993
- Beneath A Sapphire Sea – Jessica Bryan, September 1993
- Tempting Eden – Maureen Reynolds, September 1993
- Where Dolphins Go – Peggy Webb, September 1993
- Moonlight, Madness and Magic – Suzanne Forster, Charlotte Hughes, Olivia Rupprecht, November 1993
- Capture The Night – Geralyn Dawson, December 1993
- Something Borrowed, Something Blue – Jillian Karr, December 1993
- Princess Of Thieves – Katherine O’Neal, December 1993
- Notorious – Patricia Potter, December 1993
- Vixen – Jane Feather, February 1994
- One Fine Day – Theresa Weir, February 1994
- Rebel In Silk – Sandra Chastain, April 1994
- Wild Child – Suzanne Forster, April 1994
- Seized By Love – Susan Johnson, April 1994
- Lady Dangerous – Suzanne Robinson, April 1994
- Sins Of Innocence – Jean Stone, April 1994
- Relentless – Patricia Potter, May 1994
- Dark Journey – Sandra Canfield, June 1994
- The Moon Rider – Virginia Lynn, June 1994
- Velvet – Jane Feather, August 1994
- Whispered Lies – Christy Cohen, September 1994
- Virgin Bride – Tamara Leigh, October 1994
- Windflower, The – Laura London, October 1994
- Scandal In Silver – Sandra Chastain, November 1994
- Wanted – Patricia Potter, November 1994
- Whole New Light, A – Sandra Brown, December 1994
- On Wings Of Magic – Kay Hooper, December 1994
- Surrender to A Stranger – Karyn Monk, January 1995
- Prince Of Dreams – Susan Krinard, February 1995
- First Loves – Jean Stone, February 1995
- Guardian Of The Heart – Sandra Chastain, March 1995
- Almost An Angel – Kay Hooper, March 1995
- Angel On My Shoulder – Susan Krinard, March 1995
- Pagan Bride – Tamara Leigh, March 1995
- Saving Celeste – Karyn Monk, March 1995
- Trouble With Angels, The – Elizabeth Thornton, March 1995
- Witch Dance – Peggy Webb, March 1995
- Long Night Moon – Theresa Weir, April 1995
- Promise Me Magic – Patricia Camden, May 1995
- Tempting Morality – Geralyn Dawson, June 1995
- Fairest Of Them All – Teresa Medeiros, June 1995
- The Warlord – Elizabeth Elliott, July 1995
- Before I Wake – Terry Lawrence, August 1995
- Defiant – Patricia Potter, August 1995
- Mariana – Susanna Kearsley, September 1995
- From A Distance – Peggy Webb, October 1995
- Redhead And The Preacher, The – Sandra Chastain, November 1995
- The Quest – Juliana Garnett, November 1995
- Brazen – Susan Johnson, November 1995
- Texas Outlaw – Wolfe Adrienne De, December 1995
- Amanda – Kay Hooper, December 1995
- Saxon Bride – Tamara Leigh, January 1996
- Scoundrel – Elizabeth Elliott, February 1996
- Ivy Secrets – Jean Stone, March 1996
- The Bad Luck Wedding Dress – Geralyn Dawson, April 1996
- Diablo – Patricia Potter, April 1996
- Night Moves – Sandra Canfield, May 1996
- The Rebel And The Redcoat – Karyn Monk, May 1996
- Prince Of Shadows – Susan Krinard, August 1996
- Walking Rain – Susan Wade, August 1996
- Marshal And The Heiress, The – Patricia Potter, September 1996
- Betrothed – Elizabeth Elliott, October 1996
- The Marriage Wager – Jane Ashford, November 1996
- While The Music Plays – Diane Austell, November 1996
- Breakfast In Bed – Sandra Brown, November 1996
- Fanta C – Sandra Brown, February 1997
- Diamond Slipper, The – Jane Feather, February 1997
- Stolen Hearts – Michelle Martin, February 1997
- The Scotsman Wore Spurs – Patricia Potter, March 1997
- Places By The Sea – Jean Stone, April 1997
- Bride’s Bodyguard, The – Elizabeth Thornton, April 1997
- Long Time Coming – Sandra Brown, May 1997
- Once A Warrior – Karyn Monk, May 1997
- Remember The Time – Annette Reynolds, July 1997
- Silver Rose, The – Jane Feather, August 1997
- Lady Defiant – Suzanne Robinson, August 1997
- It Happened One Night – Leslie LaFoy. October 1997
- Stolen Moments – Michelle Martin, December 1997
- Prime Evil – Judith Kelman, December 1997
- Rose In Winter, A – Shana Abe, January 1998
- A Hint Of Mischief – Katie Rose, May 1998
- Wedding Chase, The – Rebecca Kelley, July 1998
- Lady Reckless – Leslie LaFoy, August 1998
- Charmed And Dangerous – Jane Ashford, October 1998
- Light In The Darkness, The – Ellen Fisher, November 1998
- Love At First Sight – Sandra Lee, January 1999
- Case For Romance, A – Katie Rose, March 1999
- Last Warrior, The – Kristen Kyle, June 1999
- Bride To Be – Jane Ashford, September 1999
- Daring The Devil – Leslie LaFoy, October 1999
- Baron, The – Juliana Garnett, January 2000
- Midnight Mistress – Ruth Owen, February 2000
- Courting Trouble – Katie Rose, April 2000
- Maddie’s Justice – Leslie LaFoy, September 2000
- Falling For Her – Sandra Lee, November 2000
- Touched By Gold – Kristen Kyle, February 2001
- Runaway Hearts – Katie Rose, April 2001
Bantam Loveswept (Originals)
Editor Carolyn Nichols founded the Loveswept imprint to focus on big-name authors. The contemporary category series ran from 1983 to 1999 for almost 1000 editions. Sandra Brown’s Heaven’s Price was the first book released.
Specifically, this category series was different from the others of its time, as it had no strict adherence to tropes. For one thing, the stories ranged from angsty to humorous. In addition, heroes could be billionaires, military men, bikers, scientists, or next-door neighbors.
As a result, writers had a lot of leeway to create the stories they wanted. They only needed to stay within the 200-page limit and include a few warm to sensuous love scenes.
It’s important to realize how talented the stable of Lovewept authors was, including names like Janet Evanovich, Sandra Brown, Iris Johansen, Suzanne Brockmann, and Kay Hooper. In time, many of these writers went on to achieve mainstream success.
In 2011, Random House temporarily revived the Loveswept line as an e-book-only imprint. Random U.S. and Random House Group’s Transworld Publishers division collaborated to release several older Bantm works in the line as well as Lovewept books.
This Fierce Splendor by Iris Johansen was their first release.
Other books that were released as e-books included: Remember The Time by Annette Reynolds; Dream Lover by Adrienne Staff; The Vow by Julianna Garnett; The Baron by Sally Goldenbaum; Lighting That Lingers by Sharon and Tom Curti; Talk, Dark and Lonesome by Debra Dixon; and Legends by Deb Smith.
Unfortunately, this endeavor was, sadly, shortlived (likely due to the Random and Penguin merger in 2013). The website for the e-book imprint, RomanceAtRandom.com, now redirects to the Random House homepage.
Bantam Love Stories
In the mid-1990s into the early 2000s, Bantam published approximately 50 romances directed to a younger teen market as Bantam Love Stories. A handful of books under the “Bantam Love Stories: His. Hers. Theirs” imprint were published in 2001.
Another Publisher Absorbed Into a Conglomerate
Bantam has been bought and sold so many times over the years that a flowchart is necessary to track its history.
Over its course of history, Bantam has been sold and acquired by various companies, including National General, Carl Lindner’s American Financial, and, most recently, Bertelsmann. Bertelsmann acquired half of Bantam in 1977 and assumed full ownership in 1980. In 1986, Bertelsmann then acquired Doubleday & Company and created Bantam Doubleday Dell.
In 1998, Bertelsmann bought Random House from Advance Publications. Random House was designated the parent umbrella company. Bantam merged with Dell Publishing to become Bantam-Doubleday-Dell. Bantam Dell became part of the Penguin-Random House publishing group in 2008. In 2010 Ballantine was merged with Bantam Dell.
Bantam Books Today
Bertelsmann acquired half of Bantam in 1977 and assumed full ownership in 1980.
In 1998, Bertelsmann acquired Random House from Advance Publications, and Random House became the name of the parent company for all other publishing houses. Bantam was placed under the Random House umbrella to form Bantam-Doubleday-Dell.
In 2010 Random House consolidated Ballantine and the Bantam-Dell divisions into the Ballantine-Bantam-Dell group.
Random House then merged with Penguin to form Penguin-Random House in 2013. This resulted in an even bigger multinational conglomerate corporation with many divisions, publishers, imprints, and lines. Dell would be a casualty of this union.
Bantam still exists as a publishing division for both fiction and non-fiction books.
Bantam Romance Book Covers
- FictionDB: Red Rose Romance
- NY Times.com: Penguin and Random House Merger Is Completed
- Publisher’s Weekly
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