Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Requiem for a Great Imprint: Apple Paperbacks

Apple Paperbacks was the first imprint/publisher I ever noticed (at the time I didn’t know there was a difference). I was probably about 10 years old and we used to shop at Davis-Kidd Booksellers. I would go over to the chapter book section and while looking for new books, I noticed how many books I already read/owned that I was going through. And at some point, I noticed that a large percentage of them all had that little logo at the top of the spine. The little red apples. Once it clicked, I could run my finger down a row of books and those red apples would just jump out at me. I’d stop and check them out. I figured if I had already read and enjoyed such a large percentage of Apple Paperbacks, odds were good that the rest of the Apple books were just as good. It started to be a sign to me of a good book. The Girl With the Silver Eyes by Willo Davis Roberts. The Pinballs by Betsy Byars. The Little Gymnast by Sheila Haigh. A, My Name is Ami by Norma Fox Mazer. Arthur for the Very First Time by Patricia MacLachlan. Nothing’s Fair in Fifth Grade by Barthe DeClements. Yours Till Niagara Falls, Abby by Jane O’Connor. With You and Without You by Ann M. Martin. Of course, everyone should recognize Ann M. Martin’s name. In fact, a lot of people don’t realize she wrote anything other than The Baby-Sitters Club books, which were also Apple Paperbacks.

As a former editor, and a former bookseller, I can attest that publishers think imprints are a whole lot more important than any consumers do. But Apple Paperbacks was successful both in being easily recognizable, and also in having their target audience learn to associate their name with quality. They were eventually bought by Scholastic, and the imprint has since been retired.

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