More on "Modern Library Book Club Editions"

Scot Kamins kamins at
Mon Jan 7 23:12:49 EST 2002


A dealer I know who wishes to remain anonymous says that MLs from the 
period I dicussed can often be found in DJs without prices on the front 
flap. In many cases, there is a contemporary price sticker where the 
price would have been printed from major discount chains of the era. 

This dealer suggests that dust jackets were prepared for major sales 
outlets without a price on them so that the seller could set their own 
price. Other than the missing price on the front flap, the books are 
always identical in every respect to copies in dust  jackets with a price 
on the front flap.This matches my own experience with the books.

A great argument the dealer makes is that producing book club editions 
would have undercut the whole idea of the ML -- i.e. inexpensive versions 
of more expensive books handsomely printed and cloth-bound. Why have an 
even cheaper version of a cheap book?

The dealer concludes by pointing out that book club editions for Modern 
Library became common in the 90's when the reborn ML decided to trade on 
its "modernity," not it's cost-effectiveness, and doesn't blink at 
representing perfect-bound books that can barely survive opening without 
cracking the spine as "quality," with cover prices to match.  It is with 
this final point that I most strongly agree - and it's the reason I don't 
collect anything im the series beyond 1970.

Scot Kamins
Maintaining the Modern Library Collecting Website at
which (in turn) is supported by The Pavilion City Mall at

More information about the ModLib mailing list