Ballantine Books

Ballantine Books is a major book publisher located in the United States, founded in 1952 by Ian Ballantine with his wife, Betty Ballantine. It was acquired by Random House in 1973, which in turn was acquired by Bertelsmann AG in 1998 and remains part of that company today. Ballantine's logo is a pair of mirrored letter Bs back to back. The firm's early editors were Stanley Kauffman and Bernard Shir-Cliff.

Following Fawcett Publications' controversial 1950 introduction of Gold Medal paperback originals rather than reprints, Lion Books, Avon and Ace also decided to publish originals. In 1952, Ian Ballantine announced that he would "offer trade publishers a plan for simultaneous publishing of original titles in two editions, a hardcover 'regular' edition for bookstore sale, and a paper-cover, 'newsstand' size, low-priced edition for mass market sale."

When the first Ballantine Book, Cameron Hawley's Executive Suite was published in 1952, the publishing industry saw that the simultaneous hardcover and paperback editions were obvious successes. Houghton Mifflin published the $3.00 hardcover at the same time Ballantine distributed its 35¢ paperback. By February 1953, Ballantine had sold 375,000 copies and was preparing to print 100,000 more. Houghton Mifflin sold 22,000 hardback copies in its first printing. Ballantine's sales soon totaled 470,000 copies. Instead of hurting hardback sales as some predicted, the paperback edition instead gave the book more publicity. After the film rights were sold to MGM, Robert Wise directed the 1954 film, nominated for four Academy Awards.

On the heels of that kind of sales and publicity, other Ballantine titles were seen in spinner racks across the country. Executive Suite was followed by Hal Ellson's The Golden Spike (#2), Stanley Baron's All My Enemies (#3), Luke Short's Saddle by Starlight (#4, also with Houghton Mifflin), Ruth Park's The Witch's Thorn (#5, also with Houghton Mifflin), Emile Danoen's Tides of Tide (#6), Frank Bonham's Blood on the Land (#7), Al Capp's The World of Li'l Abner (#8, with Farrar, Straus & Young) and LaSelle Gilman's The Red Gate (#9). Non-fiction was introduced with John Bartlow Martin's criminal case history, Why Did They Kill? (#14).

Read more about Ballantine Books:  Science Fiction and Fantasy, History, Cartoons, Comics and Humor Books, Imprints, Further Reading, Ballantine Authors

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