UK Services Editions


What's included?

Posted by Baronbern on May 16, 2010 at 12:49 PM

What counts as a services edition, and how many of them are there? The long series from Guild Books and from Collins are definitely included, as are the shorter series from Nicholson & Watson, Methuen, Hammond & Hammond, Penguin and Hutchinson. All of these are paperback series that are clearly marked as Services Editions on the covers. The Hodder & Stoughton Services Yellow Jackets are also included. Between them, these eight series add up to around 480 books.


Then rather different, but also very similar, are the Penguin Forces Book Club editions. There are 120 of these, issued in sets of 10 each month from October 1942 to September 1943 and sold on a subscription basis to units in the Armed Forces. If they are to be included, it’s difficult to exclude the Penguin Prisoner of War editions, particularly as many of them are just the Forces Book Club editions rebound into a new cover. That would be another 110 books or so.


Then what about the Hutchinson ‘Free Victory Gift’ paperbacks, given away to the Armed Forces in 1945? According to the covers, Hutchinson gave away a million of these books, but I have no idea how many different titles there were. I know of around 20. So on a wide definition, we’re now up to around 730 paperbacks.


And that’s not all. There are hardbacks too. Most of the Hutchinson paperbacks were also issued in bound editions, and there are a small number of other hardbacks, identified as Services Editions on the title page or in the printing history.


For what it’s worth, my intention on this site is to concentrate on the eight series identified in the first paragraph, but I’ll also be referring to the other series from time to time, and getting as much information as I can about them up on the site.

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