Ballantine Books
Overview
 
Ballantine Books is a major book publisher located in the United States, founded in 1952 by Ian Ballantine
Ian Ballantine
Ian Keith Ballantine was a pioneering American publisher who founded and published the innovative paperback line of Ballantine Books from 1952 to 1974 with his wife, Betty Ballantine....

 with his wife, Betty Ballantine. It was acquired by Random House
Random House
Random House, Inc. is the largest general-interest trade book publisher in the world. It has been owned since 1998 by the German private media corporation Bertelsmann and has become the umbrella brand for Bertelsmann book publishing. Random House also has a movie production arm, Random House Films,...

 in 1973, which in turn was acquired by Bertelsmann AG in 1998 and remains part of that company today. Ballantine's logo is a pair of mirrored letter Bs back to back. The firm's early editors were Stanley Kauffman and Bernard Shir-Cliff
Bernard Shir-Cliff
Bernard W. Shir-Cliff, an editor for Ballantine Books, Contemporary Books, Warner Books and other publishers, also translated books and later became a well-known literary agent. As a senior editor at Warner Books, he was responsible for the huge publishing success of Dr...

.

Following Fawcett Publications
Fawcett Publications
Fawcett Publications was an American publishing company founded in 1919 in Robbinsdale, Minnesota by Wilford Hamilton "Captain Billy" Fawcett . At the age of 16, Fawcett ran away from home to join the Army, and the Spanish-American War took him to the Philippines. Back in Minnesota, he became a...

' controversial 1950 introduction of Gold Medal paperback
Paperback
Paperback, softback or softcover describe and refer to a book by the nature of its binding. The covers of such books are usually made of paper or paperboard, and are usually held together with glue rather than stitches or staples...

 originals rather than reprints, Lion Books, Avon and Ace also decided to publish originals.
Encyclopedia
Ballantine Books is a major book publisher located in the United States, founded in 1952 by Ian Ballantine
Ian Ballantine
Ian Keith Ballantine was a pioneering American publisher who founded and published the innovative paperback line of Ballantine Books from 1952 to 1974 with his wife, Betty Ballantine....

 with his wife, Betty Ballantine. It was acquired by Random House
Random House
Random House, Inc. is the largest general-interest trade book publisher in the world. It has been owned since 1998 by the German private media corporation Bertelsmann and has become the umbrella brand for Bertelsmann book publishing. Random House also has a movie production arm, Random House Films,...

 in 1973, which in turn was acquired by Bertelsmann AG in 1998 and remains part of that company today. Ballantine's logo is a pair of mirrored letter Bs back to back. The firm's early editors were Stanley Kauffman and Bernard Shir-Cliff
Bernard Shir-Cliff
Bernard W. Shir-Cliff, an editor for Ballantine Books, Contemporary Books, Warner Books and other publishers, also translated books and later became a well-known literary agent. As a senior editor at Warner Books, he was responsible for the huge publishing success of Dr...

.

Following Fawcett Publications
Fawcett Publications
Fawcett Publications was an American publishing company founded in 1919 in Robbinsdale, Minnesota by Wilford Hamilton "Captain Billy" Fawcett . At the age of 16, Fawcett ran away from home to join the Army, and the Spanish-American War took him to the Philippines. Back in Minnesota, he became a...

' controversial 1950 introduction of Gold Medal paperback
Paperback
Paperback, softback or softcover describe and refer to a book by the nature of its binding. The covers of such books are usually made of paper or paperboard, and are usually held together with glue rather than stitches or staples...

 originals rather than reprints, Lion Books, Avon and Ace also decided to publish originals. In 1952, Ian Ballantine announced that he would "offer trade publishers a plan for simultaneous publishing of original titles in two editions, a hardcover 'regular' edition for bookstore sale, and a paper-cover, 'newsstand' size, low-priced edition for mass market sale."

When the first Ballantine Book, Cameron Hawley
Cameron Hawley
Cameron Hawley , was an American writer of fiction from Howard, South Dakota. Much of Hawley's output concerned the pressures of modern life, particularly in a business setting. He published numerous novels and short stories.Hawley's novel Executive Suite was the first title published by...

's Executive Suite was published in 1952, the publishing industry saw that the simultaneous hardcover and paperback editions were obvious successes. Houghton Mifflin published the $3.00 hardcover at the same time Ballantine distributed its 35¢ paperback. By February 1953, Ballantine had sold 375,000 copies and was preparing to print 100,000 more. Houghton Mifflin sold 22,000 hardback copies in its first printing. Ballantine's sales soon totaled 470,000 copies. Instead of hurting hardback sales as some predicted, the paperback edition instead gave the book more publicity. After the film rights were sold to MGM, Robert Wise
Robert Wise
Robert Earl Wise was an American sound effects editor, film editor, film producer and director...

 directed the 1954 film, nominated for four Academy Awards.

On the heels of that kind of sales and publicity, other Ballantine titles were seen in spinner racks across the country. Executive Suite was followed by Hal Ellson's The Golden Spike (#2), Stanley Baron's All My Enemies (#3), Luke Short
Luke Short
Western frontiersman Luke L. Short was a noted gunfighter, who had worked as a farmer, cowboy, whiskey peddler, army scout, dispatch rider, gambler and saloon keeper at various times during the four decades of his life.- Early life :...

's Saddle by Starlight (#4, also with Houghton Mifflin), Ruth Park's The Witch's Thorn (#5, also with Houghton Mifflin), Emile Danoen's Tides of Tide (#6), Frank Bonham
Frank Bonham
Frank Bonham was an western and young adult writer. Bonham wrote 48 novels, and also wrote TV scripts. He was a UCLA graduate....

's Blood on the Land (#7), Al Capp
Al Capp
Alfred Gerald Caplin , better known as Al Capp, was an American cartoonist and humorist best known for the satirical comic strip Li'l Abner. He also wrote the comic strips Abbie an' Slats and Long Sam...

's The World of Li'l Abner (#8, with Farrar, Straus & Young) and LaSelle Gilman's The Red Gate (#9). Non-fiction was introduced with John Bartlow Martin
John Bartlow Martin
John Bartlow Martin was an author of 15 books, Ambassador to the Dominican Republic, and speechwriter and confidant to many American Democratic politicians including Adlai Stevenson, John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy, Lyndon B...

's criminal case history, Why Did They Kill? (#14).

Science fiction and fantasy

During the early 1950s, Ballantine attracted attention as one of the leading publishers of paperback science fiction
Science fiction
Science fiction is a genre of fiction dealing with imaginary but more or less plausible content such as future settings, futuristic science and technology, space travel, aliens, and paranormal abilities...

 and fantasy
Fantasy
Fantasy is a genre of fiction that commonly uses magic and other supernatural phenomena as a primary element of plot, theme, or setting. Many works within the genre take place in imaginary worlds where magic is common...

, beginning with The Space Merchants (#21). The Frederik Pohl and C. M. Kornbluth novel had first appeared in Galaxy Science Fiction
Galaxy Science Fiction
Galaxy Science Fiction was an American digest-size science fiction magazine, published from 1950 to 1980. It was founded by an Italian company, World Editions, which was looking to break in to the American market. World Editions hired as editor H. L...

under the title Gravy Planet. Kauffman scored when he acquired and edited Ray Bradbury
Ray Bradbury
Ray Douglas Bradbury is an American fantasy, horror, science fiction, and mystery writer. Best known for his dystopian novel Fahrenheit 451 and for the science fiction stories gathered together as The Martian Chronicles and The Illustrated Man , Bradbury is one of the most celebrated among 20th...

's Fahrenheit 451
Fahrenheit 451
Fahrenheit 451 is a 1953 dystopian novel by Ray Bradbury. The novel presents a future American society where reading is outlawed and firemen start fires to burn books...

(originally in Galaxy as a shorter version, "The Firemen").

Ballantine's science fiction line also included the unusual Star Science Fiction Stories
Star Science Fiction Stories No.3
Star Science Fiction Stories No.3 is the third book in the anthology series, Star Science Fiction Stories, edited by Frederik Pohl. It was first published in 1954 by Ballantine Books.-Contents:*It's Such a Beautiful Day by Isaac Asimov...

. With cover paintings by Richard Powers
Richard M. Powers
Richard M. Powers was a science fiction illustrator.- Life and work :Born in Chicago 1921 into a Catholic family, Richard Michael Gorman Powers spent most of his early life supported by his mother and aunt. His father left the family when Powers was young...

, this innovative anthology series offered new fiction rather than reprints. Edited by Frederik Pohl
Frederik Pohl
Frederik George Pohl, Jr. is an American science fiction writer, editor and fan, with a career spanning over seventy years — from his first published work, "Elegy to a Dead Planet: Luna" , to his most recent novel, All the Lives He Led .He won the National Book Award in 1980 for his novel Jem...

, it attracted readers by successfully combining the formats of both magazines and paperbacks.

In the early 1960s, the company engaged in a well-known rivalry with Ace Books
Ace Books
Ace Books is the oldest active specialty publisher of science fiction and fantasy books. The company was founded in New York City in 1952 by Aaron A. Wyn, and began as a genre publisher of mysteries and westerns...

 for the rights to reprint the works of J. R. R. Tolkien
J. R. R. Tolkien
John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, CBE was an English writer, poet, philologist, and university professor, best known as the author of the classic high fantasy works The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion.Tolkien was Rawlinson and Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxon at Pembroke College,...

 and Edgar Rice Burroughs
Edgar Rice Burroughs
Edgar Rice Burroughs was an American author, best known for his creation of the jungle hero Tarzan and the heroic Mars adventurer John Carter, although he produced works in many genres.-Biography:...

 in paperback form. Ballantine prevailed in the struggle for the Tolkien work, with their editions of Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings
The Lord of the Rings
The Lord of the Rings is a high fantasy epic written by English philologist and University of Oxford professor J. R. R. Tolkien. The story began as a sequel to Tolkien's earlier, less complex children's fantasy novel The Hobbit , but eventually developed into a much larger work. It was written in...

including a message on the back cover from Tolkien himself urging consumers to buy Ballantine's version and boycott "unauthorized editions" (i.e. the version from Ace Books). A separate Canadian edition of the books was published with different front cover art work. Tolkien asked for (and received) permission to add the back cover message. Betty Ballantine recalled:
And we did put a little statement on the back covers saying that Ace was not paying royalties to Professor Tolkien, and everybody who admired Lord of the Rings should only buy our paperback edition. Well, everybody got behind us. There was literally no publication that did not carry some kind of outraged article. And of course, the whole science fiction fraternity got behind the book; this was their meat and drink.


In 1969, Lin Carter
Lin Carter
Linwood Vrooman Carter was an American author of science fiction and fantasy, as well as an editor and critic. He usually wrote as Lin Carter; known pseudonyms include H. P. Lowcraft and Grail Undwin.-Life:Carter was born in St. Petersburg, Florida...

 edited the Ballantine Adult Fantasy series
Ballantine Adult Fantasy series
The Ballantine Adult Fantasy series was an imprint of Ballantine Books. Launched in 1969 , the series reissued a number of works of fantasy literature, which were out of print or dispersed in back issues of pulp magazines , in cheap paperback form—including works...

, which brought a number of rare titles back into print, as well as launching Katherine Kurtz
Katherine Kurtz
Katherine Kurtz is the author of numerous fantasy novels, most notably the Deryni novels. Although born in America, for the past several years, up until just recently, she has lived in a castle in Ireland...

's Deryni series
Deryni novels
The Deryni novels are a series of historical fantasy books written by American-born author Katherine Kurtz. The first novel in the series to be published was Deryni Rising in 1970, and the most recent novel in the series, Childe Morgan, was published on December 5, 2006...

. During the mid-1970s, Ballantine published the Star Trek Logs, a ten-volume series of Alan Dean Foster
Alan Dean Foster
Alan Dean Foster is an American author of fantasy and science fiction. He currently resides in Prescott, Arizona, with his wife, and is also known for his novelizations of film scripts...

 adaptations of the animated Star Trek
Star Trek: The Animated Series
Star Trek: The Animated Series is an animated science fiction television series set in the Star Trek universe following the events of Star Trek: The Original Series of the 1960s...

. In 1968, Ballantine published the first non-fiction book related to Star Trek
Star Trek
Star Trek is an American science fiction entertainment franchise created by Gene Roddenberry. The core of Star Trek is its six television series: The Original Series, The Animated Series, The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and Enterprise...

, The Making of Star Trek by Stephen E. Whitfield and Gene Roddenberry
Gene Roddenberry
Eugene Wesley "Gene" Roddenberry was an American television screenwriter, producer and futurist, best known for creating the American science fiction series Star Trek. Born in El Paso, Texas, Roddenberry grew up in Los Angeles, California where his father worked as a police officer...

.

In 1977, Ballantine set up Del Rey Books
Del Rey Books
Del Rey Books is a branch of Ballantine Books, which is owned by Random House and, in turn since 1998, by Bertelsmann AG. It is a separate imprint established in 1977 under the editorship of author Lester del Rey and his wife Judy-Lynn del Rey. It specializes in science fiction and fantasy...

 as a science fiction and fantasy imprint under the editorship of Lester del Rey
Lester del Rey
Lester del Rey was an American science fiction author and editor. Del Rey was the author of many of the Winston Science Fiction juvenile SF series, and the editor at Del Rey Books, the fantasy and science fiction branch of Ballantine Books, along with his fourth wife Judy-Lynn del Rey.-Birth...

 and his wife Judy-Lynn
Judy-Lynn del Rey
Judy-Lynn del Rey née Benjamin was a science fiction editor.Born with dwarfism, she was a fan and regular attendee at science fiction conventions and worked her way up the publishing ladder, starting with work at the science fiction magazine Galaxy.Judy-Lynn was friends with Lester del Rey and...

 to rival Donald A. Wollheim
Donald A. Wollheim
Donald Allen Wollheim was an American science fiction ' editor, publisher, writer, and fan. As an author, he published under his own name as well as under pseudonyms, including David Grinnell....

's launch of specialist science fiction publisher DAW Books
DAW Books
DAW Books is an American science fiction and fantasy publisher, founded by Donald A. Wollheim following his departure from Ace Books in 1971. The company therefore claims to be "the first publishing company ever devoted exclusively to science fiction and fantasy." The first DAW Book published was...

. Del Rey/Lucas Books has published novelizations of all six Star Wars
Star Wars
Star Wars is an American epic space opera film series created by George Lucas. The first film in the series was originally released on May 25, 1977, under the title Star Wars, by 20th Century Fox, and became a worldwide pop culture phenomenon, followed by two sequels, released at three-year...

films, in addition to other novels set in the Star Wars universe.

Cartoons, comics and humor books

After publishing The World of Li'l Abner, Ballantine introduced Shel Silverstein
Shel Silverstein
Sheldon Allan "Shel" Silverstein , was an American poet, singer-songwriter, musician, composer, cartoonist, screenwriter and author of children's books. He styled himself as Uncle Shelby in his children's books...

 in 1956 with his Grab Your Socks! collection of cartoons from Pacific Stars and Stripes. Ballantine also published several collections of Jim Davis
Jim Davis (cartoonist)
James Robert Davis is an American cartoonist, best known as the creator of the comic strip Garfield, which he signs as Jim Davis. He has also worked on other strips: Tumbleweeds, Gnorm Gnat, U.S. Acres and a strip about Mr...

' comic strip Garfield
Garfield
Garfield is a comic strip created by Jim Davis. Published since June 19, 1978, it chronicles the life of the title character, the cat Garfield ; his owner, Jon Arbuckle; and Arbuckle's dog, Odie...

.

As an editor at Ballantine during the 1950s and 1960s, Bernard Shir-Cliff handled the Zacherley anthologies, the paperback of Hunter Thompson's Hell's Angels, Harvey Kurtzman
Harvey Kurtzman
Harvey Kurtzman was an American cartoonist and the editor of several comic books and magazines. Kurtzman often signed his name H. Kurtz, followed by a stick figure Harvey Kurtzman (October 3, 1924, Brooklyn, New York – February 21, 1993) was an American cartoonist and the editor of several comic...

's The Mad Reader and other early Mad
Mad (magazine)
Mad is an American humor magazine founded by editor Harvey Kurtzman and publisher William Gaines in 1952. Launched as a comic book before it became a magazine, it was widely imitated and influential, impacting not only satirical media but the entire cultural landscape of the 20th century.The last...

paperbacks. He made four contributions to Mad and other magazines edited by Kurtzman. In 1956, Shir-Cliff edited a humor anthology, The Wild Reader, for Ballantine, including essays, poems and satirical pieces by Robert Benchley
Robert Benchley
Robert Charles Benchley was an American humorist best known for his work as a newspaper columnist and film actor...

, Art Buchwald
Art Buchwald
Arthur Buchwald was an American humorist best known for his long-running column in The Washington Post, which in turn was carried as a syndicated column in many other newspapers. His column focused on political satire and commentary...

, Tom Lehrer
Tom Lehrer
Thomas Andrew "Tom" Lehrer is an American singer-songwriter, satirist, pianist, mathematician and polymath. He has lectured on mathematics and musical theater...

, John Lardner, Shepherd Mead
Shepherd Mead
Shepherd Mead, born Edward Mead, , was an American writer. He is best known as the author of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, which was adapted into a hit Broadway show and motion picture....

, Ogden Nash
Ogden Nash
Frederic Ogden Nash was an American poet well known for his light verse. At the time of his death in 1971, the New York Times said his "droll verse with its unconventional rhymes made him the country's best-known producer of humorous poetry".-Early life:Nash was born in Rye, New York...

, S. J. Perelman
S. J. Perelman
Sidney Joseph Perelman, almost always known as S. J. Perelman , was an American humorist, author, and screenwriter. He is best known for his humorous short pieces written over many years for The New Yorker...

, Frank Sullivan, James Thurber
James Thurber
James Grover Thurber was an American author, cartoonist and celebrated wit. Thurber was best known for his cartoons and short stories published in The New Yorker magazine.-Life:...

 and others. The 154-page paperback was illustrated with cartoons by Kelly Freas
Frank Kelly Freas
Frank Kelly Freas , called the "Dean of Science Fiction Artists", was a science fiction and fantasy artist with a career spanning more than 50 years.-Early life, education, and personal life:...

 who also did the front cover.

Another contributor to both Ballantine and the Kurtzman magazines was the cartoonist-author Roger Price
Roger Price (comedy)
Roger Price was an American humorist, author and publisher, who created Droodles in the 1950s, followed by his collaborations with Leonard Stern on the Mad Libs series...

. He did two humor books for Ballantine. I'm for Me First (1954) details Herman Clabbercutt's plan to launch a revolutionary political party known as the "I'm for Me First" Party. In One Head and Out the Other (1954) popularized the catchphrase "I had one grunch, but the eggplant over there." The nonsense non sequitur was immediately adopted by science fiction fandom, appearing occasionally in fanzines, as noted in Fancyclopedia II (1959).

Imprints

Ballantine's 3000-title backlist includes titles from several imprint
Imprint
In the publishing industry, an imprint can mean several different things:* As a piece of bibliographic information about a book, it refers to the name and address of the book's publisher and its date of publication as given at the foot or on the verso of its title page.* It can mean a trade name...

s. Fawcett
Fawcett Publications
Fawcett Publications was an American publishing company founded in 1919 in Robbinsdale, Minnesota by Wilford Hamilton "Captain Billy" Fawcett . At the age of 16, Fawcett ran away from home to join the Army, and the Spanish-American War took him to the Philippines. Back in Minnesota, he became a...

, now home to Ballantine's mysteries, was acquired in 1982. In 1987, Ivy Books was launched and now features Ballantine's romance novels. One World was founded in 1991 as a publisher of multicultural books, and Wellspring has published spiritual guidance and inspiration since 1999. Ian and Betty Ballantine also founded Rufus Publications.

Further reading

  • J. Grant Thiessen
    J. Grant Thiessen
    J. Grant Thiessen is a Canadian bibliographer and bookseller . He has worked primarily in the area of science fiction...

     in Science-Fiction Collector #6 offered a detailed listing of all Ballantine science fiction, fantasy and horror titles from 1953 to 1976, including later printings.

Ballantine authors

  • Steve Berry
    Steve Berry
    Steve Berry is an American author, professor and former attorney currently living in St. Augustine, Florida. He is a graduate of Mercer University's Walter F. George School of Law....

  • Allison Brennan
    Allison Brennan
    Allison Brennan is an American author of romantic thriller novels. She currently resides in California.-Predator Trilogy:* The Prey * The Hunt * The Kill -Evil Trilogy:...

  • Suzanne Brockmann
    Suzanne Brockmann
    Suzanne Brockmann is an award-winning American romantic fiction writer. She lives outside of Boston, Massachusetts with her husband, Ed Gaffney, and their two children, Melanie and Jason...

  • Harriet Brown
    Harriet Brown
    Harriet Brown is an American writer, magazine editor, and professor of magazine journalism at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University...

  • Julie Garwood
    Julie Garwood
    Julie Garwood is an American writer of over twenty-five romance novels in both the historical and suspense subgenres. Over thirty million copies of her books are in print, and she has had at least 15 New York Times Bestsellers...

  • Tess Gerritsen
    Tess Gerritsen
    Tess Gerritsen, M.D., is a Chinese-American novelist and retired physician. Her first name is really Terry; she decided to feminize it when she was a writer of romance novels.-Early life:...

  • Linda Howard
    Linda Howard
    Linda S. Howington is an American best-selling romance/suspense author under her pseudonym Linda Howard. Before she became a writer, she was an avid reader and fond of Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. After 21 years of penning stories for her own enjoyment, she submitted a novel for...

  • Dr. Adam Ireland
  • Jonathan Kellerman
    Jonathan Kellerman
    Jonathan Kellerman is an American psychologist, and Edgar and Anthony Award winning author of numerous bestselling suspense novels....

  • Anne Perry
    Anne Perry
    Anne Perry is an English author of historical detective fiction. Perry was convicted of the murder of her friend's mother in 1954.-Early life:Born Juliet Marion Hulme in Blackheath, London, the daughter of Dr...

  • Jeff Shaara
  • Steve Berry
    Steve Berry
    Steve Berry is an American author, professor and former attorney currently living in St. Augustine, Florida. He is a graduate of Mercer University's Walter F. George School of Law....

  • Allison Brennan
    Allison Brennan
    Allison Brennan is an American author of romantic thriller novels. She currently resides in California.-Predator Trilogy:* The Prey * The Hunt * The Kill -Evil Trilogy:...

  • Suzanne Brockmann
    Suzanne Brockmann
    Suzanne Brockmann is an award-winning American romantic fiction writer. She lives outside of Boston, Massachusetts with her husband, Ed Gaffney, and their two children, Melanie and Jason...

  • Harriet Brown
    Harriet Brown
    Harriet Brown is an American writer, magazine editor, and professor of magazine journalism at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University...

  • Julie Garwood
    Julie Garwood
    Julie Garwood is an American writer of over twenty-five romance novels in both the historical and suspense subgenres. Over thirty million copies of her books are in print, and she has had at least 15 New York Times Bestsellers...

  • Tess Gerritsen
    Tess Gerritsen
    Tess Gerritsen, M.D., is a Chinese-American novelist and retired physician. Her first name is really Terry; she decided to feminize it when she was a writer of romance novels.-Early life:...

  • Linda Howard
    Linda Howard
    Linda S. Howington is an American best-selling romance/suspense author under her pseudonym Linda Howard. Before she became a writer, she was an avid reader and fond of Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. After 21 years of penning stories for her own enjoyment, she submitted a novel for...

  • Jonathan Kellerman
    Jonathan Kellerman
    Jonathan Kellerman is an American psychologist, and Edgar and Anthony Award winning author of numerous bestselling suspense novels....

  • Anne Perry
    Anne Perry
    Anne Perry is an English author of historical detective fiction. Perry was convicted of the murder of her friend's mother in 1954.-Early life:Born Juliet Marion Hulme in Blackheath, London, the daughter of Dr...

  • Jeff Shaara
  • Angus Wells
    Angus Wells
    Angus Wells was a British writer of genre fiction, including fantasy and westerns. Wells wrote under numerous pseudonyms, including Andrew Quiller , James A. Muir, Charles R. Pike , William S. Brady , J. D. Sandon , Charles C...

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