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Thursday, February 9, 2017

The Publisher as Marketer

The Depression was an innovative time for publishers struggling to sell new titles.  It gave rise to the arrangement for publishers to take back any unsold books as an incentive to the bookseller.   

Platt & Munk approached the marketplace by marketing books that changed only the cover art and story lineup.  The Road in Storyland, illustrated by “Lucille W. and H.C.Holling,” is a case in point.  Platt & Munk was a prolific publisher, with more than a score of its books still available on Amazon today.  “Watty Piper” was the pen name for Arnold Munk, Hungarian immigrant and co-owner of the publishing company. 

They published The Road in Storyland in 1932, a 10x12” hardcover in red cloth with a paste-on illustration.  There were 106 (unpaginated) pages with decorative end papers.  It also came out in a blue cloth cover.  Same book, different appearance, a rearrangement of the contents.   

The colored full-page illustrations are from one of the original Junior Home Magazine covers. by the Hollings.  The printing plates were bought by Platt & Munk when the magazine went out of business. The short story that Holling wrote to go with the magazine cover illustration was not used, but was replaced by a longer story.

In 1952, it was republished as a 11.8x9.9 ”hardcover with no tip-on cover art but with a
full-color illustrated paper book jacket and only 102 pages.