A Brief History of the Armed Services Editions
Armed services editions were published by the Council on Books In Wartime, Inc. from
1943 until 1946. The books were printed on inexpensive paper using presses idled by
the war effort. A variety of reading material was provided in this manner to troops and sailors overseas or in veterans' hospitals. Mysteries, sports, westerns, horror, self-help, travel and adventure provided a respite from the stress and boredom of World War II.
The books were not intended for sale. In fact, they were purposely made in a less than durable manner to reduce costs as well as to reduce the chance of the free books flooding the post war market. These pocket-size paperbacks were the largest literature giveaway in the history of the published word. More than 120 million copies were distributed, but only a fraction survived the rigors of wartime. 1,322 titles were published over 4 years from 1943 until 1946.
This site is intended to provide information on the Armed Services Editions that will be helpful to students, scholars, book dealers, collectors and preservationists.
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