Atheneum Paperbacks

Publisher: Atheneum Publishers

Years: 1962-1984

Related Series: Studies in American Negro History, Studies in Human Behavior

Atheneum to Publish Harvard Titles, New and Old, in Paperback, PW, Mar. 26, 1962, at 30 (announcing that Atheneum will have first option paperback publishing rights on all Harvard University Press titles and noting that Atheneum will publish its first paperback in September 1962).

Atheneum and Princeton U.P. Make Paperback Agreement, PW, Apr. 9, 1962, at 29-30 (announcing that Atheneum will have first option paperback publishing rights to all Princeton University Press titles, similar to the arrangement with Harvard).

Atheneum Gets First Paper Rights to Stanford Titles, PW, Feb. 18, 1963, at 145 (announcing that Atheneum will have first option paperback publishing rights on all Stanford University Press titles, a similar arrangement to the one Atheneum had with Harvard and Princeton).

Atheneum to Spend $40,000 on One Paperback, PW, Sept. 2, 1963, at 48 (documenting the September 30, 1963, publication of Nelson A. Rockefeller's The Future of Federalism, a Harvard UP reprint, accompanied by a $40,000 advertising campaign).

G. Roysce Smith, Mail: "College Editions", PW, Aug. 8, 1966, at 23:


A short time after we returned from the ABA Convention in Washington, where the ridiculousness of the trade-text distinctions on certain books was strongly underscored by Theodore Wilentz and Margaret Kain at separate meetings, we received announcement from Atheneum that a number of titles in their paperback line would be available only in “College Editions” at a short discount. The quotation marks are Atheneum’s, not mine. But they point up the fact that basically a “college edition” is a book on which the publisher, for one reason or another, finds it necessary or expedient to reduce his discount.

An examination of the titles on the Atheneum list which are and which are not “college editions” further points up the fact that the term is meaningless. Why is Northrop Frye's "Anatomy of Criticism” a “college edition.” while “Genetics, Paleontology & Evolution” is not? Miller’s biography of Roger Williams is a “college edition,” while “Heredity and Evolution in Human Population” is a book designed to appeal to the masses?

If Atheneum had said, “Look, buster, we’ve got a problem and instead of raising the prices on some of our books we’re reducing your discount,” we could argue over their honest reasons. Let’s stop playing euphemisms. Let’s call a short discount book a short discount book and not try cloaking the discount reduction in the tattered, pseudonoble mantle of saving-money-for-the-students.

I am not picking on Atheneum. They are not doing anything unique. They are just the most recent marchers to join the parade, and they have made a valuable contribution by putting things in perspective with those quotation marks.

Manager, Book Dept.
Yale Co-Op Corp.
New Haven, Conn.