Pocket Books

Pocket Books is a division of Simon & Schuster that primarily publishes paperback books.[1][2]

Pocket Books
Parent companySimon & Schuster
FounderRichard L. Simon
M. Lincoln Schuster
Robert de Graff
Headquarters location1230 Avenue of the Americas,
Rockefeller Center,
New York City, New York
Official websitewww.simonandschuster.com


Pocket Books produced the first mass-market, pocket-sized paperback books in America in early 1939 and revolutionized the publishing industry. The German Albatross Books had pioneered the idea of a line of color-coded paperback editions in 1931 under Kurt Enoch, and Penguin Books in Britain had refined the idea in 1935 and had one million books in print by the following year.

Pocket Books was founded by Richard L. Simon, M. Lincoln ("Max") Schuster and Leon Shimkin, partners of Simon & Schuster, along with Robert de Graff.[3]

In 1944, the founding owners sold the company to Marshall Field III, owner of the Chicago Sun newspaper. Following Field's death, in 1957, Leon Shimkin, a Simon & Schuster partner, and James M. Jacobson bought Pocket Books for $5 million.[3] Simon & Schuster acquired Pocket in 1966.

Penguin's success inspired entrepreneur Robert de Graff, who partnered with publishers Simon & Schuster to bring it to the American market. Priced at 25 cents and featuring the logo of Gertrude the kangaroo (named after the mother-in-law of the artist, Frank Lieberman), Pocket Books' editorial policy of reprints of light literature, popular non-fiction, and mysteries was coordinated with its strategy of selling books outside the traditional distribution channels. The format size, and the fact that the books were glued rather than stitched, were cost-cutting innovations.

The first ten numbered Pocket Book titles published in 1939 with a print run of about 10,000 copies each:

  1. Lost Horizon by James Hilton
  2. Wake Up and Live by Dorothea Brande
  3. Five Great Tragedies by William Shakespeare
  4. Topper by Thorne Smith
  5. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie
  6. Enough Rope by Dorothy Parker
  7. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
  8. The Way of All Flesh by Samuel Butler
  9. The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder
  10. Bambi by Felix Salten[4]

The edition of Wuthering Heights hit the bestseller list, and by the end of the first year Pocket Books had sold more than 1.5 million units. Robert de Graff continued to refine his selections with movie tie-ins and greater emphasis on mystery novels, particularly those of Christie and Erle Stanley Gardner.

Pocket and its imitators thrived during World War II because material shortages worked to their advantage. During the war, Pocket sued Avon Books for copyright infringement: among other issues, a New York state court found Pocket did not have an exclusive right to the pocket-sized format (both Pocket and Avon published paperback editions of Leslie Charteris' The Saint mystery series, among others).

Phyllis E. Grann who would later become the first woman CEO of a major publishing firm was promoted to run Pocket Books under then CEO Richard E. Snyder. Grann left for Putnam in 1976.[5]

In 1981, Dr. Benjamin Spock's Baby and Child Care was listed as their top seller having sold 28 million copies at that time and having been acquired in 1946.[4]

Pocket is still known for publishing works of popular fiction based on movies or TV series, such as the Star Trek franchise (owned by corporate sibling CBS Television Studios, while former corporate sibling Paramount Pictures owns film and DVD distribution rights) and formerly Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Since first obtaining the Star Trek license from Bantam Books in 1979 (with a publication of the novelization of Star Trek: The Motion Picture), Pocket has published hundreds of original and adapted works based upon the franchise and continues to publish a new novel every month.[6][7] The author credited for one of the Buffy products is Gertrude Pocket, a reference to the company's kangaroo logo (The Buffy novels are now published by Simon Spotlight Entertainment, another division of Simon & Schuster). Pocket Books is also the division that currently owns publication rights to the well-known work of James O'Barr, The Crow.


Defunct imprints

  • Sonnet—romance
  • Timescape—science fiction
  • Wanderer Books—former publisher of the Hardy Boys stories


  1. ^ The Media Business; Pocket Books Publisher To Bantam
  2. ^ Herbert Alexander, Pocket Books Editor And Publisher, 78
  3. ^ a b Silverman, Al (2008). The Time of Their Lives: The Golden Age of Great American Publishers, Their Editors and Authors. Truman Talley. pp. 256–257. ISBN 978-0312-35003-1.
  4. ^ a b Ennis, Thomas (November 3, 1981). "Robert F. De Graff Dies At 86; Was Pocket Books Founder". The New York Times. Retrieved 17 August 2015.
  5. ^ Maneker, Marion (January 1, 2002). "Now for the Grann Finale". New York Magazine. Retrieved 2018-05-23.
  6. ^ "For Star Trek Books, the Voyage Shows No Sign of Stopping". PublishersWeekly.com. Retrieved 2017-01-15.
  7. ^ "Star Trek Publishing Program Moves at Warp Speed". PublishersWeekly.com. Retrieved 2017-01-15.

External links

A Will to Survive

A Will to Survive is the 156th title of the Hardy Boys series, written by Franklin W. Dixon. The book was first published by Pocket Books in 1999, and reprinted by Scholastic in 2004.


Blooded is a novel written by Christopher Golden and Nancy Holder, based on the U.S. television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Christie Golden

Christie Golden (born November 21, 1963) is an American author. She has written nearly fifty novels and several short stories in fantasy, horror and science fiction.

Cursed (Buffy/Angel novel)

Cursed is an original novel based on the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its spin-off Angel.

Daredevils (The Hardy Boys)

Daredevils is the 159th title of the Hardy Boys series, written by Franklin W. Dixon. The book was first published by Pocket Books in 2000, and republished by Aladdin Paperbacks in 2002, and by Thorndike Press in 2003.

Donald Duck pocket books

The Donald Duck pocket books are a series of paperback-sized publications published in various European countries, featuring Disney comics.

Gallery Publishing Group

Gallery Publishing Group is a general interest publisher and a division of Simon & Schuster that was formed in October to 2012 to house a number of imprints including Gallery Books, Pocket Books and Scout Press. The main imprint is Gallery Books.

Jen Bergstrom is the Senior Vice President and Publisher.

Halloween Rain

Halloween Rain is an original novel based on the U.S. television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Killing Time (Star Trek novel)

Killing Time is a Star Trek: The Original Series novel written by Della Van Hise and published by Pocket Books in 1985. The original manuscript had Kirk/Spock slash fiction elements, and these were requested to be removed by Paramount. However, they were not removed, and 250,000 copies were printed. These romantic undertones between Spock and James T. Kirk were brought to the attention of the office of the creator of Star Trek, Gene Roddenberry, who made Pocket Books recall the first edition. This edition subsequently became a collector's item, with more than fifty changes made to a revised version.

List of Nintendo development teams

Nintendo is one of the world's biggest video game development companies, having created several successful franchises. Because of its storied history, the developer employs a methodical system of software and hardware development that is mainly centralized within its offices in Kyoto and Tokyo, in cooperation with its division Nintendo of America in Redmond, Washington. The company also owns several worldwide subsidiaries and funds partner affiliates that contribute technology and software for the Nintendo brand.

List of novels based on comics

This is a list of officially licensed novels (and short story collections) based on established comic book and comic strip characters (i.e., media "tie-in" novels).

The Hunt for the Four Brothers

The Hunt for the Four Brothers is the 155th title of the Hardy Boys series, written by Franklin W. Dixon. The book was first published by Pocket Books in 1999.

The Star Trek Encyclopedia

The Star Trek Encyclopedia: A Reference Guide to the Future is a 1994 encyclopedia of in-universe information from the Star Trek television series and films. It was written by Michael Okuda and Denise Okuda, who were production staff on Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager and Debbie Mirek. It was illustrated by Doug Drexler.

Voyages of Imagination

Voyages of Imagination: The Star Trek Fiction Companion (2006) is a reference work by Jeff Ayers published by Pocket Books. The book contains entries on the production and publication of Star Trek tie-in novels published from 1967 to 2006. Included are brief synopses of the plots for each book.

Whispers in the Fog

Whispers in the Fog is the 153rd volume in the Nancy Drew Mystery Stories series. It was first published in April 2000 by Pocket Books.The Nancy Drew video game Danger on Deception Island is loosely based on this novel.

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