Anchor Books / Anchor Press


One Anchor Books oddity is Goya's The Disasters of War, which was published in 1956 with the series number AA1. As far as I can tell, this was the only Anchor Book with the AA- prefix.  It's not clear what AA stands for, but it seems probable it may be Anchor Art. 

More Information

PW, Nov. 20, 1954, at 2066:

ANCHOR BOOKS has passed the million-copy mark in sales, Doubleday reports. Although the best seller of the list is still David Riesman’s “The Lonely Crowd” (60,000 copies), the publisher believes the strength of the line lies in the fact that the sales of all 43 titles are remarkably close. Of six more titles to be released in February three will be Anchor’s first originals--”Four Stages of Renaissance Style” by Wylie Sypher and Volumes I and II of “The Modern Theatre,” a collection of plays edited by Eric Bentley. 

Ad, PW, Jan. 2, 1973, at [2-7]:

Recognizing that this evolution has taken place, we're starting something else. This month, on the twentieth anniversary of the line, Doubleday Anchor Books becomes the Anchor Press. 

The Anchor Press imprint will appear on hardcover as well as paperback books -- and eventually, no doubt, on some forms of communication that might not be described as "books." 

The books pictured on this page are only a few of the Anchor bestsellers of recent years. They have helped establish an Anchor tradition that the hard and softcover books introduced on the next four pages carry on -- often by breaking with tradition, always by innovating. It's what some of your best customers will come to expect of the Anchor Press.


Perhaps the most innovative of the divisions Doubleday began was Anchor Books, the first line of what later came to be called trade paperbacks, meaning that they were quality books sold in bookstores rather than through mass market outlets. These distinctions ultimately became somewhat blurred, but when Doubleday began publishing Anchor Books in the early fifties, the line was unique. This division was the creation of Jason Epstein, who had a difficult struggle in convincing Doubleday executives that money could be made by publishing quality paperback titles and selling them in the retail trade.

The success of Anchor Books astounded the industry. They became as much of a landmark in reprint publishing as the Modern Library had been in the thirties, and the list was distinguished. 


The battle of advances among the mass paperback marketers in the fifties overshadowed the quiet development of the trade paperback, which began in April 1953, when Doubleday introduced its Anchor Books, under the direction of Jason Epstein, who is generally credited with originating the genre. The idea was to introduce quality reprints that would be sold through trade book wholesalers and stores, rather than employing the multiple outlets of the mass marketers. Anchor's first four books sold 10,000 copies each within two weeks, even at what was considered high prices for those days--eighty five centers to $1.25. Two years later, Anchor won the Carey-Thomas Award for creative book publishing, and Epstein, who was only 26, was hailed as a true innovator in the paperback business.


Highest number I’ve seen is A1013, Ravensbrück: An Eyewitness Account of a Women's Concentration Camp, published in 1975. Searched WorldCat for up to A1050 without any luck. 

Anchor lists A565 as Arvel & Havran, A Short History of England (actual published title was England: Pre-History to the Present , but it's not clear whether it was ever published as Anchor Book), but Yahweh and the Gods of Canaan: A Historical Analysis of Two Contrasting Faiths has A565 on the front cover. 

Photo online of Mother Earth and Other Stories shows cover with A625, but (1) Soldiers Against the State also has A625 on cover and (2) Paperbound Books in Print (1969) lists it as A630, so I placed it under A630.