[ModLib] ML Book Club Editions pre-1975

Chad Bernu skinnygypsy at yahoo.com
Fri Jun 22 15:46:07 EDT 2012

Regarding a ML book of the month club: What about the dust jacket of "Darkness at Noon" where on the bottom of the front it says " The Book of the Month Club Selection"? I've always wondered about it. Incidentally, no "W" to be found.

 From: Gordon Barrick Neavill <neavill at wayne.edu>
To: For collectors of Modern Library books <modlib at thuban.owu.edu> 
Sent: Friday, June 22, 2012 1:52 PM
Subject: Re: [ModLib] ML Book Club Editions pre-1975

I can't think of any ML books that were book club selections in their ML editions.  My guess is that some booksellers, seeing a printing of a well-known title in a hardbound format smaller that the original publisher's edition, assume it must be a book club edition.   
I think -- but am not certain -- that the W indicates that the ML had world rights to any copyrighted content.  Moby-Dick has been in the public domain for a long time, but the Howard introduction was copyrighted, and the ML held world rights to the introduction.  This would not be the case for a new Random House book published in 1950.  Assuming that RH initially acquired all rights to the work, it typically sold rights to the traditional British market area to a British publisher, translation rights to publishers in France, Germany, Italy, etc., movie rights, and any other rights it could think of.  American publishers usually retained Canadian rights when selling a work to a British publisher, and British publishers usually did the same when selling American rights.  It could be very confusing.  There are examples of ML books that were sold in Canada for years before it was discovered that RH did not have Canadian rights.  Eventually the book
 trade adopted codes indicating the area or areas to which they had rights, and included thse in their catalogs, listings in Books in Print, etc. 

From: "jwol" <jwol at fast.net>
To: "For collectors of Modern Library books" <modlib at thuban.owu.edu>
Sent: Friday, June 22, 2012 1:53:07 PM
Subject: Re: [ModLib] ML Book Club Editions pre-1975

I recall seeing the W on several of my books but did not make a notation in my inventory, so … I would need to look through the books themselves.   Given some time I can have a look. 
I also recall a dealer incorrectly indicating the W meant it was a first edition ML book.  Armed with my copy of Toledano, I knew better. 
John Wolansky 
From:modlib-bounces at thuban.owu.edu [mailto:modlib-bounces at thuban.owu.edu] On Behalf Of Bill Hornick
Sent: Friday, June 22, 2012 10:40 AM
To: modlib at thuban.owu.edu
Subject: [ModLib] ML Book Club Editions pre-1975 
Dear ML Collectors, 
Yesterday while browsing for some elusive titles for my collection, I came across more than a dozen dealer listings for "book club editions" of ML titles.  Most of the listings were associated with the Book of the Month Club.  I assume that these editions were the titles listed in the BOMC promotion as depicted in the brochure pictured on the ML website. 
Several of the dealers identified these editions as having a "W" centered below the date on the copyright page.  Indeed, my copy of 119.2, Moby Dick, has this W.  I suspect that if these editions exist they will be mostly Regulars in binding #8. 
The key questions are: 
- Does this W actually indicate a book club edition? 
- Is there any other indicator of a book club edition, especially on the copyright page? 
- Do any of you have ML titles with the W or other indicator of a book club edition? 
- Do any of you have any information concerning pre-1975 book club editions? 
- Do any of you have a list of ML titles existing in such editions? 
- Are they the titles listed on the BOMC brochure or do they post-date the brochure? 
Any and all information on this topic would be greatly appreciated.  My previous request of many months ago received no response.  This might be an overlooked area of ML collecting. 
If you can attach a photo to your email response, it would be extremely helpful. 
Thanking all of you in advance, 
Bill Hornick
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Gordon B. Neavill
Associate Professor
School of Library and Information Science
Wayne State University
106 Kresge Library
Detroit, MI 48202
313-577-0507; 313-577-7563 (fax)

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