Avon Books

Detail of the Avon logo from the book "Painted Veils"
Detail of the Avon logo from the book "Voyage from Lesbos".

Title

Avon Books

Years in the Paperback Market

1941 -

Head Office Location

New York, NY

Profile

Avon was founded by Joseph Meyers and Edna Meyers Williams with the American News Company. It was the first serious U.S. competitor to the Pocket Book brand that started the modern mass media paperback trend in North America and was charged with copyright infringement for imitating its paperback book design. After Avon dropped its apparent similarities to the Pocket Books brand, the courts ruled there was no exclusive claim to the format size. Other publishers were free to manufacture ‘pocket-sized’ paperback books.

Avon was financed by businessmen with interests in news and magazine distribution. The company focused on popular genres such as westerns and mysteries much like the pulp magazines of the time. In the 1950s it followed Fawcett's lead and began to publish original fiction. Its lesbian-themed titles were part of its “sexually suggestive love stories”

In 1959 Avon Books was acquired by Hearst Publications. In 1999, Avon was taken over by the News Corporation. Avon presently focuses on the primarily heterosexual romance genre.

The MSVU collection holds one title from the early Avon Publications period, Painted Veils (1958), and several more from the Avon-Hearst years, including Tereska Torres’ second book ‘The Golden Cage’ (1959). Avon also handled printing and distribution of paperbacks of some smaller paperback companies. Queer Patterns (1951) was published by Eton Books but printed and distributed by Avon Publications.

Sources

Bartter, Martha A. "Avon Books." Amerian Literary publishing Houses 1900-1980: Trade and Paperback, edited by Peter Dzwonkoski, Gale Research Company, 1986, pp. 26-28.

Davis, Kenneth C. Two-Bit Culture: The Paperbacking of America. Houghton Mifflin, 1984.

Profile Contributor

Denyse Rodrigues

Item Relations

This Item Publisher Item: Trio
This Item Publisher Item: Painted veils
This Item Publisher Item: Libido beach
This Item Publisher Item: Voyage from Lesbos: the psychology of a female homosexual
This Item Publisher Item: Death of anger
This Item Publisher Item: Golden cage (The)
This Item Publisher Item: Rebel woman
Item: Torrès, Tereska Relation This Item

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Citation

“Avon Books,” The Lesbian Pulp Fiction Collection @ Mount Saint Vincent University, accessed February 2, 2023, https://msvulpf.omeka.net/items/show/818.