☞ Reinventing Book Publishing in the Tech Wo…

In the first half of the Twentieth Century, Emanuel Haldeman-Julius began publishing Little Blue Books in a small town in southeastern Kansas. These books were on a wide variety of topics and reached a massive number of readers: …in just over thirty years, [he] had become one of the most prolific publishers in U.S. history, putting an estimated 300 million copies of inexpensive “Little Blue Books” into the hands of working-class and middle-class Americans. Selling for as little as five cents and small enough to fit in a trouser pocket, these books were meant to bring culture and self-education to working people, and covered topics ranging from classic literature to home-finance to sexually pleasuring one’s spouse. Distributed discreetly by mail order, Little Blue Books disseminated birth-control information not available in small-town libraries, advocated racial justice at a time when the Ku Klux Klan influenced politics, and introduced Euripides, Shakespeare, and Emerson to people without the means for higher education.

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