Still listening to Radiohead’s KING OF LIMBS. Still liking it with reservations. More later on that.
Did I say “penny dreadfuls?” Well, “penny dreadfuls” were actually English 19th Century popular fiction magazines. What I meant were “dime novels”.
As mostly a fiction writer, so that’s my perspective on Borders. Anyway, the Borders chain was the result of a huge surge in popularity of mass market novels.
Dime novels were mass-market. That is in an era when books were printed in hundreds, these magazines were more like newspapers in circulation.
Thus not only were they for a wider audience, they needed to be for a more general audience. Boy’s novels. Girl’s fiction. Western stories! War stories! It was in the dime novels that detectives such as Nick Carter got their start. Mind you all these were reflections of books and stories that had proved popular and enduring. These were markets, printed with marketing in mind, to serve a perceived need.
But how did the readers get them? Well, where they got local newspapers! Newstands. Drug stores. A nook in the corner of the local five and dime. At the railway station. And then, through postal subscription.
Mass Market fiction. Would Borders have carried dime novels if there had been Borders in the 19th Century? You bet. Has the fiction printed in those magazines proved of any worth? Doesn’t matter. It sold and it reflected the rise of American literacy.
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