ML format and original publisher's plates

Gordon Neavill aa3401 at
Mon Jul 9 17:09:07 EDT 2001

The slightly larger than normal ML's during the balloon cloth era were
published in this format so they could  be printed from original publisher's
plates.  The ML tried to use other publisher's plates (especially for
copyrighted works) whenever possible to avoid incurring typesetting and
platemaking costs themselves.  They generally did their own typesetting for
public domain titles, but here the cost was offset by not having to pay

The availability of suitable plates sometimes determined which titles were
chosen for inclusion in the ML.  In 1932 Cerf and Klopfer wanted to bring
out Faulkner's SOUND AND THE FURY or AS I LAY DYING in the series, but the
original publisher had printed directly from type without making plates.
Rather than incurring typesetting and platemaking costs they took SACTUARY
instead, for which plates were available.  (The original publisher regarded
SANCTUARY as more commercial than the earlier titles and had made plates to
allow for additional printings and reprint editions.)  Fourteen years later
they set type and made plates for THE SOUND AND THE FURY & AS I LAY
DYING--an investment that turned out to be a good one.


----- Original Message -----
From: "John Krygier" <jbkrygie at>
To: <modlib at>
Sent: Monday, July 09, 2001 1:55 PM
Subject: Re: Early Blumenthal Bindings

> Gordon Neavill wrote:
> > A few titles during the balloon cloth
> > period were printed in a slightly larger format than usual in order to
> > accommodate the original publisher's text plates; the Kent endpapers of
> > these titles have a white border around the endpaper design.
> > (Blank endpapers were also used for two spring 1939
> > titles published in the larger format in balloon cloth bindings: Stone's
> > Lust for Life and Dinesen's Seven Gothic Tales. It was the pleasing
> > appearance of these volumes that caused the ML to go ahead and bring out
> > titles in the larger format.)
> Ok - this is something I have been confused about: I know that the
> Stone and Dinesen MLs were the size of the later Blumenthal bindings,
> but still bound in balloon cloth.
> But what about the MLs from this era that were about 1/4 inch taller
> and wider than the typical balloon cloth MLs?  The 1st ed of Edmonds
> "Rome Haul" is like this.
> I also have a copy of Lewis's "Arrowmith" in this larger balloon cloth
> format - not as big as the Stone or Dinesen but bigger than a typical
> balloon cloth ML.
> Were all balloon cloth eds. of Arrowsmith in this larger format?  It  does
> look like the text would not have fit in the regular size balloon cloth
> format.
> Both the Edmonds and Lewis have ill-fitting endpapers (a white gap
> around the edge) - the Edmonds says 257 titles on the DJ and the
> Lewis 268.
> Were these MLs sized between the Kent and Blumenthal bindings
> due to printing plate issues?
> Anyone have other titles in this larger balloon cloth format?
> JK
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