Friday, January 30, 2015

Say No To Coverless Copies-1952



Just spotted this very prominently displayed on the top third of the splash of a 1952 Boy Comics issue. I'm sure most of you know of the practice of vendors returning only the covers of the to 3rd of the covers to the distributors for credit. After 30 years in book retail, I've yet to figure out how this ever came out anywhere NEAR accurate but still...the practice continued at least into the early 2000s when it was replaced by an affidavit system where we just counted the stripped covers by price point, then threw them away, sending only the gathered stats. Like that makes any MORE sense. That said, it was fairly standard practice when I was a kid in the '60s to see bundled 3 or 4 packs of coverless copies of everything from comic books and detective mags to "men's sweat" mags and True Story-type periodicals, all for virtually no cost! The reason, of course, was that the value stayed in the cover with the rest of the product presumably destroyed.  And yet many a mom and pop grocery and law abiding citizen made extra money by selling or distributing these NO-cost items. ANY profit was straight to them with no cut to the publisher, the creators or the original distributor. Not a penny. The practice continued at least up into the early '80s. By the time I was managing a bookstore, we had to literally rip the items in half twice. VERY time consuming on things like Marvel's New Universe titles that never sold!

This Lev Gleason notice is the earliest reference I've seen to the practice although something tells me it dates back to the '20s at least. I know John Goldwater got his start repackaging and reselling some of Louis Silberkleit's returned pulps to different markets but I think that was more a business deal than this questionable practice.

1 comment:

Steve Bennett said...

For at least twenty years there was a book store in downtown Akron that specialized in coverless books and magazines. Coverless comics went for 10 cent each and I must confess I bought my share of them growing up.