A division of Simon & Schuster, Pocket Books is aptly named, for in 1939 they produced the first mass-market, pocket-sized paperback books in the United States. Imitating the success that Penguin Books had in England, they were truly innovators in the publishing industry. Pocket Books reprinted literary works, mysteries, and popular non-fiction in hand-sized paperback editions that were cheaply made with glue, as opposed to stitched hardcovers. Their brightly designed covers sold millions in pulp revolution before World War II. Pocket Books has published various genres, science-fiction, television adaptations, sports, astrology, horror… you name it, they’ve released it.
With the advent of the sexy romance revolution of the 1970s, Pocket Books would release their own bodice rippers. Purity’s Passion by Janette Seymour (aka John Michael Butterworth), published in 1977 would be the first of 3 in the Purity Jarsy series. 1977 would also see the first two of Jeanne Williams’ bodice rippers, A Lady Bought with Rifles and A Woman Clothed In Sun. Con Sellers released Marilee in 1978, and Drusilla Campbell’s The Frost and the Flame came out in 1980 (both book covers designed by prolific Harry Bennett).
Pocket Books started the Tapestry imprint in October, 1982. These historical romances spanned the globe and took place during all time periods. Many popular authors wrote for the line, including Jude Deveraux, Julie Garwood, Ruth Ryan Langan, Linda Lael Miller, Patricia Pellicane, Maura Seger (aka Josie Litton), and Ena Halliday (aka Sylvia Halliday & Louisa Rawlings) whose book Marielle was Tapestry #1. Harry Bennett and Elaine Gignilliat were frequent cover illustrators for the line. Approximately 94 Tapestry books were released, with the final novel released in August, 1986.
Pocket Books would continue successfully producing mass market paperbacks into the next decades. V.C. Andrews released her Dollanganger series with them and her books continue to do well despite her death many years ago.
The three “J”s, Jude Deveraux, Judith McNaught, and Julie Garwood would prove to be powerhouse historical authors for Pocket Books in the 1980s and 1990s before they branched off into contemporary fiction and other genres.
Pocket Books still remains a force to be reckoned with in an ever more decreasing paperback marketplace, with romance authors like Kresley Cole and Sabrina Jeffries.
Pocket Books Reviews