So where was I?
Oh right. The early pulp magazines.
You may ask why I’m getting so long to get to my point. Well, some history needs to be set down before a point can be made, really. The point is that there’s a real tie between the development of popular fiction and the methods it is dispensed to the public. The media and plenty of writers are in a real lather now about ebooks and such, but it’s not as though there haven’t been changes before in avenues for popular fiction.
Books were expensive. But thanks to cheap paper and better technology, viable methods for mass production were possible. And there was, above all, perceived value.
Take a look at that copy of ALL STORY below with that first appearance of Edgar Rice Burroughs TARZAN OF THE APES. You’d have to hold a mint copy of that in your hands to get the full impression. Pulp paper was really beautiful when fresh off the presses. The artwork was first rate. And, inside wasn’t just carelessly strewn words and images like newspapers tended to be. Nope. Typsetting was an art in those days, and
the pulps were on cheap paper, but the typesetting could be first rate. Just as important was the design.
So while the price was “Cheap”, the actual package didn’t look cheap.
Result: mass sales.