05 June 2009

News Stand Library Cover Cavalcade

As patrons flock to SoHo's Openhouse Gallery to take in cutting edge art commissioned by Harlequin Enterprises, thoughts turn to News Stand Library. The publisher's early rival, New Stand was much more willing to use sex and scandal to sell its wares. In nearly every way, their books were cheaper, nastier and inferior. It makes perfect sense that Harlequin published Brian Moore's first book, while Hugh Garner's second, the pseudonymous Waste No Tears, came from News Stand. And yet, the two competitors did share a few writers, including prolific pulpist Thomas P. Kelley.

The most valuable of all New Stand titles, Kelley's The Gorilla's Daughter – ' OFFSPRING of MAID and MONSTER' – cannot be had in any condition for under C$400. Its cover is more polished than most; a typical example of the publisher's look would be that found on the author's Jesse James: His Life and Death.

The type is ugly and in places difficult to read. Note that the author's name is misspelt, an error found time and again on News Stand covers. Here we have Bentz Plagemann , author of Each Night a Black Desire, identified as Bentz Plageman.

By my count, a dozen covers suffer similar mistakes. Niel H. Perrin is Neil H. Perrin, Murry Leinster is Murray Leinster and Ursula Parrot is good time gal Ursula Parrott. The cover of Alan Marston's Strange Desire reads 'Strange Desires by Alan Malston'.

Other blunders are more curious, and may reveal the true names behind pseudonyms. Just who wrote Private Performance the Glen Watkins on the cover or the Eliot Brewster credited on the title page? Perhaps the most amusing error is found on the cover of Terry Lindsay's Queen of Tarts, which has the title as 'Quean of Tarts'.

In keeping with the previous post, here are my three all-time favourite News Stand covers. A couple appear to use work produced in a high school art class, but what I find most appealing are the pitch lines above each title. 'Never Will HELL Admit a Gayer Sinner than Laura Warren' reads the first – printed on the cover of a book written by... Laura Warren. An unforgiving editor, perhaps?


  1. Out of curiosity, did these books need to be sold in special packaging? There's quite a lot of exposed breast happening there.

  2. Mark, I've wondered about that myself. I don't think 'by George Willis' provides nearly enough cover.

  3. Enjoyed your News Stand Library covers. You didn't mention that NSL is not the publisher but an imprint of Export Publishing Enterprises Ltd. You're certainly right about using sex to sell their books. They had some of the most provactive covers of the era, US or Canadian. They also had some of the worst written books of the era. Mr. Kelley's The Gorilla's Daughter is a perfect example of this. By the way this book was reprinted with an R in front of the number. This version is even more uncommon than the first printing. I've recently added some NSL books to Freebase if anyone is interetsed.

  4. Hi all ... I was lucky enough to find an almost complete set of Newstand Librarys at a flea market in Hamilton about 1986. It included Waste No Tears #116 and The Gorilla's Daughter (which is about the only one I kept along with 27A a reprint of Waste No Tears and an almost mint copy of Heed The Thunder by Jim Thompson. I traded them to a dealer in Toronto for a bunch, of what now are virtually worthless Science Fiction from the 50's and 60's ... anyone got a Time machine. I would like to take that trade back. I also had the three Hugh Garner titles at Collins White Circle. Best Don Barone

  5. Sad to say, I have a few similar stories of loss - valuable lessons all, they're the reasons I don't play the stock market.

  6. Hi Brian I did however have the foresight to hang onto my Newstands that had a dustjacket. I wasn't completely daft ! :o)

    Cheers and I am getting the itch to put them online and when I do I will drop you a line.

    By the way I also had an almost mint copy of Brian Moore's "The Executioner" Harlequin # 117 along with a very good copy of Wreath for a Redhead, Harlequin #102 which also went to this same Toronto dealer.