- Ballantine Books
Infobox Publishing company
company_name = Ballantine Publishing Group
Subsidiaryof Random House
foundation = 1952
area_served = USA
homepage = [http://www.randomhouse.com/publishers/pub_ballantine.html Ballantine Publishing Group]
The Ballantine Publishing Group, better known as Ballantine Books, is a major American book
publisherfounded in 1952 by Ian Ballantine. It was acquired by Random Housein 1973 and remains part of that company today. Ballantine's logo is a pair of mirrored letter "B"'s back to back.
Fawcett Publications' controversial 1950 introduction of Gold Medal paperbackoriginals rather than reprints, Lion Books, Avon and Ace also began to do reprints. Then, 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."
The first Ballantine Book was
Cameron Hawley's "Executive Suite", published in 1952. The publishing industry sat up and took notice, because 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 20,500 hardback copies. Instead of hurting hardback sales, the paperback edition gave the book more publicity. Movie rights were sold to MGM, and Robert Wisedirected the 1954 film, nominated for four Academy Awards.
With this kind of sales and publicity, the early Ballantine titles were catapulted into 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'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's "Blood on the Land" (#7), Al Capp'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's criminal case history, Why Did They Kill?(#14).
During the early 1950s, Ballantine attracted attention as one of the leading publishers of paperback
science fictionand fantasy, beginning with "The Space Merchants" (#21). The Frederik Pohl and C.M. Kornbluth novel had first appeared in Galaxy Science Fictionunder the title "Gravy Planet". Ballantine's science fiction line included the unusual "Star Science Fiction Stories". With cover paintings by Richard Powers, this innovative anthology series offered new fiction rather than reprints. Edited by Frederik Pohl, it successfully combined the formats of both magazines and paperbacks.
In the early 1960s the company engaged in a well-known rivalry with
Ace Booksfor the rights to reprint the works of J. R. R. Tolkienand Edgar Rice Burroughsin paperback form. Ballantine prevailed in the struggle for the Tolkien work, with their editions of Tolkien's " The Lord of the Rings" 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 also published, with different front cover art work, though Tolkien still asked for (and received) permission to add a message to the back cover of the Canadian editions expressing his support for them.
In 1969 Ballantine launched the
Ballantine Adult Fantasy seriesunder the editorship of Lin Carter, which brought a number of rare titles back into print, as well as launching Katherine Kurtz's " Deryni" series. During the mid-1970s, Ballantine published a 10-volume series of adaptations written by Alan Dean Fosterbased upon teleplays from the animated "", entiled the "Star Trek Logs". In 1968, Ballantine also published the first non-fiction book related to " Star Trek", "The Making of Star Trek" by Stephen E. Whitfieldand Gene Roddenberry.
In 1977 Ballantine set up
Del Rey Booksas a science fiction and fantasy imprint under the editorship of Lester del Reyand his wife Judy-Lynn. This may have been a response to rival Donald A. Wollheim's launch of specialist science fiction publisher DAW Books. Del Rey/Lucas Books has published novelizations of all six Star Warsfilms, as well as numerous "bridge" novels, prequels and sequels to the films.
Ballantine is also a publisher of several collections of
Jim Davis' comic strip " Garfield".
Ballantine's 3000-title backlist includes titles from several
imprints. Fawcett, now home to Ballantine's mysteries, was acquired in 1982. In 1987, Ivy 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.
J. Grant Thiessenin "Science-Fiction Collector" #6 offered a detailed listing of all Ballantine science fiction, fantasy and horror titles from 1953 to 1976, including later printings.
* [http://www.randomhouse.com/publishers/pub_ballantine.html Ballantine Publishing Group]
* [http://www.bookscans.com/ Bookscans] Early Ballantine covers
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