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Monday, September 14, 2015

Really bad book covers (and books)

This started out being a post on bad pulp novel covers. I kept running into books that were awful even if the covers weren't that interesting, though, so the end result is something of a mixed bag.

When I was growing up my father had boxes of lurid hard-boiled detective novels in the basement, and I read a lot of them. Many of them were cheaper than 25 cents (as some of these apparently cost) and were known as "dime novels", and a lot of them had two novels in one book - if you flipped the book over and upside-down the second novel would now be the front of the book. Anyone else remember these?

“This novel probes a mounting social problem. Can the young divorcĂ©e return to a normal existence – or will she always be any man’s target?”:

This is in a category by itself: an 8th grade Serbian biology textbook from 1998 which for some reason features Nicholas Cage and Holly Hunter from Raising Arizona.

From 1983 - FORTH was an early programming language:

Buy it here

There are approximately a billion of these online - find more herehere, here and here.


  1. I should note that the Fritz Leiber book is quite good, one of his Fafhrd & The Grey Mouser books. I can't argue that the cover for that edition isn't hideous though..

    The Pocket Book of Boners is good too, full of humorous mistakes from school papers and whimsical Dr. Seuss illustrations. Unfortunately the use of "boner" for "boneheaded mistake" is quite unfortunate in 2015..

  2. Fafhrd & The Grey Mouser series: ahhhhh that brings about fond memories of Leiber and Howard's hero, Conan!

  3. Agreed. Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser was a wonderful series. Leiber was one of the best. The cover, though, is were most s-f paperback book covers in that era.

  4. Is anyone else reminded of "The Seven Year Itch"? Tom Ewell's character was in the paperback book publishing business, and some of his job was making lurid covers of books even more lurid.

  5. Things on those covers were ill-met in Lankhmar