Sunday, June 10, 2012

Series Book Questions from Spring 2012

These are questions that were asked in recent months. I have rewritten the questions in order to avoid using any direct quotes from private messages.

How scarce and desirable are the Wanderer books #59 Old Lace, #74 Mysterious Image, and #76 Eskimo's Secret in hardcover with dust jacket?

The Wanderer books with dust jackets are very desirable, even if they are library discards. The lower-numbered titles such as #59-60 are desirable but not extremely difficult to find. The final Wanderer hardcover books are much more scarce. #76 Eskimo's Secret with dust jacket is quite scarce.

How scarce are certain Penny Parker books, such as Whispering Walls, as compared to other books in the series?

The final Penny Parker books, Whispering Walls, Swamp Island, and Cry at Midnight, are the hardest ones to find. Swamp Island and Cry at Midnight are the most scarce. The books are even more scarce if the original dust jackets are present.

Were any of the Dana Girls books ever published with 25 chapters and then later with 20 chapter revised texts? For instance, #19 Winking Ruby from 1957 has 20 chapters. Was there ever a 25 chapter version?

#1-18 in the original run are the only books that ever had 25 chapters. #17 was revised down to 20 chapters for the white spine picture cover edition, so #17 is the only book that exists with a 20 chapter text and a 25 chapter text. #1-16 and #18 went out of print at the time of the white spine version, so those books were never revised. #19 and up only have the 20 chapter text in all printings and never had 25 chapter texts.

Did any of the 1934 Dana Girls dust jackets ever come with the ads on the reverse side of the jackets?

I own Lone Tree Cottage with a dust jacket that has the reverse ads. I do not have the other two. Since all three books were published simultaneously, all three should have the reverse ads on the very first printing. The reverse ad printings are extremely hard to find.

A flashlight edition Nancy Drew book was found that has sharp squared edges on the spine instead of slightly rounded edges. Does this have any significance?

It probably has to do with which year it was printed. You will find variances in the books as they go through different print runs.

Something else to watch for with the flashlight editions is for the books that have a textured cover instead of the very smooth cover. The ones with a textured cover look nicer than the usual flashlight books, but very few of the books have the textured cover. It was probably only one print run from around five or six years ago, so just a small number of books are like that.

How are the later Nancy Drew books different from the original ones? Did Nancy Drew become more modern? If someone were compiling a list of books to collect, where would the list end?

The Nancy Drew books were revised beginning in 1959 primarily for two reasons: to renew the copyrights and to reduce costs. The popular reason always given by the copyright owners was that the books were revised to remove the racial stereotyping, but this is not the real reason. Some books were not revised and kept the stereotypes (#35 is an example). By reducing the length of the texts, costs were reduced. By rewriting the texts, the copyrights were renewed, thus keeping the books out of the public domain.

Some books in #1-34 were completely rewritten from start to finish, and the stories are not at all the same. The titles that were completely rewritten are #5, 11, 12, 14, 17, and 18. The remaining titles were condensed down from 25 chapters to 20 chapters. For those titles, the original text books are generally better. The revised text versions tend to be a bit choppy.

People who read Nancy Drew books prior to around 1960 generally only collect #1-34 in the original text. People like me who read Nancy Drew during the 1970s or later collect all of #1-56 and both versions of #1-34. I also collect all of the softcover titles from #57-174 as well as the Nancy Drew Files series.

My suggestion is to try a sample book from the original text stories along with a revised text version plus one from around #40-50 to see what you think. If you decide to begin building a set, you will know how far to take it.

What does "PC" mean in the title of your listing?

"PC" stands for picture cover. This refers to series books that have the picture printed directly on the front cover rather than on a dust jacket.

The book seen on the left is an example of a picture cover.


R.G. said...

This is a really interesting blog to read! I especially love your thoughts on reading through both the original and revised texts.

Hope to see more soon!

Jennifer said...

I'm glad you enjoy the blog.

I have resumed reading the Nancy Drew books and have written reviews of #22 and #23. The review of #22 will publish in a few days.

I am most of the way through reading #24 and will continue with #25 shortly thereafter unless I decide that I need to read some other book first. I can easily end up distracting myself with other books. There are too many good books to read!