An Adventure in Book Hunting #2: Albatross Books

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As some of you may know I sell antique and vintage books on Etsy. It’s a hobby that allows me to do one of my favourite things – buy old books – without feeling too guilty. It’s not really about making money (although that’s nice too), it’s about the joy of finding beautiful old / rare books, researching their history and giving them a new home. In this new feature I will be sharing some of my finds with you!

Albatross paperbacks – various

Found: Ebay

These caught my eye because of the striking covers and their resemblance to the classic Penguin books, but I’d never heard of Albatross. When I delved into the history of the publishers it all became clear…

  • Christmas Holiday by Somerset Maugham. 1947
  • These Foolish Things by Michael Sadleir. 1937
  • Strange Glory by L.H Myers. 1938

History

Albatross Books was a German publishing house based in Hamburg that produced the first ever modern mass market paperback books. Founded in 1932 by John Holroyd-Reece, Max Christian Wegner and Kurt Enoch, the name was chosen because “Albatross” is the same word in many European languages.

Based on the example of Tauchnitz, a Leipzig publishing firm that had been producing inexpensive and paper-bound English-language reprints for the continental market, Albatross set out to streamline and modernise the paperback format.

The books in the series, also known as the Albatross Continental Library, were produced in a new standardised size (181 x 111 mm), which became known as the Golden Ratio – still used today. They used new sans-serif fonts developed by Stanley Morison among others, and were color-coded by genre, with green for travel, orange for fiction, and so on. The series was so successful that Albatross soon purchased Tauchnitz, giving itself an instant 100-year heritage.

The outbreak of World War II brought the Albatross experiment to a halt, but by then Allen Lane, founder of Penguin Books had adopted many of Albatross’ ideas, including the standard size, the idea of covers using typography and logo but no illustrations, and the use of colour coding by type of content. Lane later hired Kurt Enoch, co-founder of Albatross Books, to manage Penguin’s American branch. (Wiki)

More info here: Publishing History

Inscriptions/Features


Two of the books are signed and dated. One is unreadable but one clearly reads 1938. In These Foolish Things there is an original ‘postcard’ from Albatross books reading:

‘Dear reader,

If I have not yet chosen that special book you want me to publish, would you not care to select it yourself? A free copy is sent of every book published at a reader’s suggestion to whoever proposed it first. On receipt of your card you will be informed if the book in question has been suggested already and if not it will be read at once.

Hoping yours will be the first suggestion, I remain,

Yours sincerely,

The Albatross’

Purchase

I’ve found a few copies of Christmas Holiday in slightly better condition than mine over  on AbeBooks  for around $35, but haven’t had much luck with the others, so hopefully that means they’re pretty rare. I’m selling these three as a set for just £20 as they’re not in the best condition but still readable! I also have a sale on the moment with 1/3 off selected items. 

Do these books mean anything to you? I’d love to hear more about the history of  Albatross.

Vintage Book Shop ~ Now Open!

As promised in my proposed schedule, I’m dedicating some posts to all the goings on in my Etsy vintage book shop. Because we all love vintage books, right!?

The past fortnight has been a bit slow, but then I wasn’t exactly expecting to be bombarded with orders so I’m pretty happy overall.

Items Sold:

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A friend of mine took a shine to Spike Milligan’s Adolf Hitler: My Part in his Downfall, and instead of selling it to her we agreed on a swap for an old SLR Camera she was going to put on Freecycle. Score.

I also sold the first Holmes & Watson story, A Study in Scarlet, so that’s 2/2 Penguin Classics gone. I knew they’d be popular but didn’t expect them to go that quickly. Must find more!

Items Added:

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Le Petite Lord Fauntleroy by Frances Hodgson Burnett, 1951 (in French, illustrated).

I love this book. Clearly, I can’t read French, but it’s a beautiful edition of the Children’s Classic. I hope this gets snapped up by someone who will love it!

 

The Complete Plays of Bernard Shaw, 1937

This is definitely a WOW book. The leather-bound cover complete with medallion on the frontispiece makes it look pretty grand. I can’t say I’ve ever been a fan of Bernard Shaw, so I want it to go to a home that will appreciate it more.

You can view my shop here.

If you have an Etsy store, link me and I’ll follow you 🙂

Horror October: Where it all began (Point Horror, boiii)!

My love of all things horror was spawned from two main things.

1. My family, who never really censored what we watched and me trying to get one up on my older brother by swearing I wasn’t scared of any of the films he put on. Somewhere along the line, I got a taste for it. I also remember trips to the video shop (RIP VHS) on Friday nights in which I would usually have a friend over (the promise of horror films at the age of 13 was always good for the popularity ratings) and my dad would let us pick any 3 of the bargain nasties (50p for 2 nights!!), any our hearts desired. Some that spring to mind are, Salem’s Lot, Amityville Horror, and Child’s Play.

2. My discovery of Point Horror books. I love these books. Reading them now they are silly and a bit of fun but back when I was 10, I thought they were the best thing ever. And they really got me back into reading when reading wasn’t considered cool. I stupidly sold all of my original copies when I thought I’d out-grown them, but I’ve been slowly building up my collection again.

Here’s what I have so far:

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And here are some of my favourites. I haven’t reread them all yet but these are the ones I remember the most!

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The Snowman – R.L Stine
Heather feels cold all the time. Alone. Her guardian hates her. He’d like to see her dead. He’d like all her money. But for now he settles for controlling it, and making Heather’s life miserable.

Poor little rich girl, just like Cinderella…

Then the gorgeous, ice-blond guy shows up at the crummy restaurant where Heather works after school. He understands about Heather. He’s her Prince Charming. No one can get to Heather now.

Heather feels so safe. So loved. So warm…

The Cemetery – D.E Athkins

When an innocent game played by a group of teens leads to the death of one of them, the surviving friends must figure out who among them is the killer

The Cheeleader – Caroline B. Cooney

Cheerleaders are beautiful, popular and exciting – girls that Althea longs to be. But Althea is nobody – she gets no phone calls, shares no laughter and has no friends. Then one day she meets him, a vampire who offers to make her a cheerleader in exchange for a simple bargain.

The Window – Carol Ellis

It should have been the skiing holiday of a lifetime. But Jody sprains her ankle and finds herself alone with nothing to do but gaze out of her cabin window.

Gazing into the cabin of a beautiful neighbor she witnesses the fight, the murder and the killer…or does she?

And if the murder is real, has the killer been watching Jody?

The Girlfriend – R.L Stine

Scotty has the perfect life. And the perfect girlfriend. But one weekend while she’s away, Scotty goes just a little…astray. Suddenly he has a new girlfriend. One who won’t go away. His one wild night has become a nightmare.

Because his new girlfriend has decided that she loves Scotty…to death.

The Boyfriend – R.L Stine

Sometimes, love is murder. Too bad about Dex. He was in love with Joanna. She broke up with him. And then he died.

Joanna’s sorry, of course. But it’s not her fault he’s dead, is it? Besides, she never loved him. Boys are just toys, to be used and thrown away.

But this time, Joanna’s gone too far. Because Dex is back. From the dead. For one last date with her….

I really want to find this one next:

459353When the Devil’s Elbow roller coaster goes off track, killing one teenager and maiming two others, everyone thinks it’s just an accident . . . except Tess. She saw someone tampering with the track. Then another “accident” occurs in the Funhouse and Tess may have been the intended victim.

Bargain Books: Car-Boot Sale Finds

Today, for once I actually got up early enough to go to my local bi-monthly car-boot sale. Check out my BARGAINS.

All of this for under £2. UNDER £2. Including the cute glass espresso cups.

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I haven’t read this since I was little…I can’t believe this is the first copy of it I’ve owned! MAGICAL!

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