Paperbacks, U.S.A.

by Piet Schreuders

Dutch graphic designer Piet Schreuders is fascinated by such things as cats, the Beatles — and the cover art from early American paperback books. In the early '80s, he wrote and designed this book, then hired me to translate it into English for him. In his 'Preface to the English Edition,' he wrote: "Working with Josh Pachter, who translated and edited the text, has been a treat. He suggested many additions, deletions and changes, brought inconsistencies to my attention, and cheerfully allowed me to complicate his work with my own frequent alterations. He did a fine job, and our collaboration has been a wonderful experience for me."

Actually, that's not what he wrote. He wrote something shorter, simpler, and in Dutch — and then, when I translated it into English, I made it longer, more complex, and more complimentary, and he agreed that that's what he'd meant to say, after all....

Piet gave me a lot of leeway as I worked on this project, and that was one of the things that made it so much fun for me. On page 114, for example, "One Gothic author tells a wonderful story about the immutability of the Gothic cover." The wonderful story which follows was told to me at a Mystery Writers of America cocktail party, years earlier, and Piet liked it and allowed me to tuck it into his manuscript. Quite a bit of the "setting the scene" data in the "Year by Year" appendix on pages 139-155 came from my research, too.

This American edition, published by Blue Dolphin Books, was supposed to come out in June 1981, at the same time as the British edition. There was some kind of delay, though, and the US version wasn't actually issued until September.

Return to Bibliography.