Blog: Thoughts and comments on the world of the pulp magazines

Selling the pulps with postcards

Posted by at 10:00 am Tuesday, April 11, 2017 in Pulp Art, Pulp Collectibles, Pulp History, Pulps
Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Selling the pulps with postcards

A postcard promoting 'The Shadow Magazine' from the 1930s.Continuing my “selling the pulps” series, this post turns our attention to postcards.

The postcards featured below were mailed out by Street & Smith Publications to magazine wholesalers (regional distributors) or vendors (the folks who actually sold pulp magazines to readers).

The postcards come from the collection of John Olsen, who writes our That’s Pulp! blog, and who also provided the scans. (Thanks, John!)

I haven’t found much — make that, any — information about these cards in my research over the past couple of months. I talked with Dwight Fuhro, who has at least one of The Shadow postcards, but he had little information, either. With that in mind, I will at least put the postcards in context.

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Selling the pulps in ads, II

Posted by at 10:00 am Thursday, February 23, 2017 in Pulp Art, Pulp Collectibles, Pulp History, Pulps
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Selling the pulps in ads, II

'Love Story Magazine' logoLast week’s post looked at ads for Street & Smith Publications‘ pulp magazines that appeared in its movie-fan magazine, Picture Play. Those ads ran from September 1932 through March 1934.

We pick up with that same March 1934 issue of Picture Play this week as we look at full-page ads for Love Story Magazine.

Romance pulps, along with western pulps, were among the best-selling pulp magazines, yet often get short shrift in favor of hero, detective/mystery, science fiction, and fantasy pulps. Love Story, in particular, hit a circulation of around 600,000 copies in the 1930s, which may have been the highest circulation for any pulp magazine, according to some sources.

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Selling the pulps in ads

Posted by at 10:00 am Thursday, February 16, 2017 in Pulp Art, Pulp Collectibles, Pulp History, Pulps
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Selling the pulps in ads

Nick CarterWe usually think of pulp magazines as selling themselves — that their garish, often lurid covers splashed across newsstands were all it took to propel the fiction magazines into the hands of eager readers.

But pulp publishers weren’t satisfied with simply relying on the magazines themselves. They turned to tried-and-true methods of advertising.

Think of this as installment four of a series on “selling” the pulp magazines to readers.

The first post, “Selling the pulps with posters,” was way back in July 2014. “Selling the pulps with posters, II” appeared this past December. In both of those posts I took at look at posters that pulp publishers gave to magazine vendors to promote sales.

A couple of weeks after that first post in 2014, “Ads for The Shadow” featured a collection of full-page ads for The Shadow Magazine that appeared in Picture Play, a movie-fan magazine published by Street & Smith Publications Inc.

We return to the pages of Picture Play today with a look at a few full-page ads for other Street & Smith pulps.

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Selling the pulps with posters, II

Posted by at 10:00 am Tuesday, December 13, 2016 in Pulp Art, Pulp Collectibles, Pulp History, Pulps
Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

Selling the pulps with posters, II

street-and-smithIt’s easy to think of the pulp magazines as solitary items today — 70, 80, 90 or more years after they were for sale on newsstands — and forget that there was a whole business behind them. There were writers, artists, editors, publishers, printers, secretaries, vendors, and others who depended on getting magazines sold so that they could get paid.

Just like with retailers today, pulp publishers in the first half of the 20th century had to advertise to make readers eager to shell out their nickels, dimes, or quarters for the latest fiction magazine. The covers did a lot of the selling, but posters provided a larger canvas to promote the magazines, one that could be seen farther away.

A couple of years ago, I featured a selection of posters that publishers used to advertise their pulp magazines. I thought it would be fun to take look at a few more.

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Selling the pulps with posters

Posted by at 10:00 am Tuesday, July 8, 2014 in Pulp Art, Pulp Collectibles, Pulp History, Pulps
Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

The Shadow pulp ad illustrationUpdated: July 24, 2014.

As pulp collectors, we mostly focus on the actual product of the whole publishing process: the pulp magazines themselves, the stories contained within them, and the art on the covers.

I’ve touched on the premiums aspect of collecting — the club pins, membership cards, etc. — in previous posts. But before all of that, the publishers had to get the magazines off the rack, sold and into the hands of eager readers.

Doug Ellis, who published Pulp Vault, helps run the Windy City Pulp and Paper Show and is an avid pulp and pulp art collector, uploaded a number of advertising posters from his collection to Facebook recently. He’s generously given me permission to show them off here.

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