Dover books (in former days) -- a fond reminiscence


Well-Known Member
Aug 21, 2010
I hope you will be allowed to read this:

The author remembers that, as a young reader, he noticed the statement on Dover paperbacks about the quality of the paper and the use of sewn signatures so as to make the book permanent, unlike more cheaply-made paperbacks. I remember the change in production quality as something that occurred in the 1970s. Old Dovers do hold up well. The cover lamination might peel off but the book remains sound. Most of the more cheaply made books of the past near half-century also seem to hold up well, though the Dover Thrift books are more cheaply made still and I'm not sure of their longevity -- though I can say that the few I have do seem to be lasting, but those only began to be released around 20 years ago.

Dover is sometimes overlooked, but they were a significant source of classic sff. Here are some of the Dover releases that Chrons folk might remember from around 40 or more years ago:

M. R. James's Ghost Stories of an Antiquary
Blackwood's Best Ghost Stories
Lovecraft's Supernatural Horror in Literature
Chambers's The King in Yellow
Doyle's supernatural fiction
Two volumes of stories by Sheridan Le Fanu plus his Gothic novel Uncle Silas
Morris's The Wood Beyond the World
Dunsany's Gods, Men, and Ghosts
Wells's science fiction and short stories in two large books -- unusually for Dover, these seem (?) to have been issued only in cloth bindings
Some Stapeldon sf
Martian and Pellucidaran romances by Edgar Rice Burroughs

There was more; but Dover was a good source for classic sffh books. Their editor for such things, E. F. Bleiler, seemed to be very knowledgeable.

The Dover edition pictured above was something I found in, I think, a school library... a real find.
I have that Wells pb still and I still have Dover collections of Le Fanu, Onions and Blackwood,
I still have these around, though a couple are not in the best of shape.
I like Dover and have bought lots of their books. A very eclectic list. I would be interested to understand their editorial policy

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