Those odd back covers to 1960s Bond paperbacks

Back cover to a Signet paperback edition of Live And Let Die (it’s on top of a DVD collection of UPA cartoons, in case you’re wondering).

In episode 0028 of the James Bond & Friends podcast, there was a discussion about the back covers of 007 paperbacks and the odd order they listed the Ian Fleming books.

David Leigh of The James Bond Dossier noted how Pan paperback editions of the Fleming novels listed the books in a seemingly random order.

The podcast got a reaction on social media. I remembered the U.S. paperbacks also seemed odd. So I got out a couple of my own Signet paperbacks issued in the U.S. during the 1960s.

A 1963 Signet printing of For Your Eyes Only listed the books in this order:

Casino Royale, Live And Let Die, Goldfinger, From Russia With Love Moonraker, Doctor No, Diamonds Are Forever and Thunderball.

Casino Royale and Live And Let Die were the first two books in the series. But it jumps out of order after that.

At the same time, an inside page lists the Fleming Bond novels in a different order. It starts with From Russia With Love, goes back to Doctor No, then presents the rest randomly (Casino Royale listed fourth, Goldfinger fifth and Moonraker sixth, among others.

The 27th printing by Signet of Live And Let Die (no specific printing date but before The Man With the Golden Gun was out in paperback) has this listing in alphabetical order (discounting “the”) with more titles:

Casino Royale, Diamonds Are Forever, Doctor No, For Your Eyes Only, From Russia With Love, Goldfinger, Live And Let Die, Moonraker, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, The Spy Who Loved Me, Thunderball, You Only Live Twice.

One Response

  1. I bought them all in 1963, so I probably would have had the list cited above from FYEO. My copies are down in the archives, and I’m too lazy to schlep down there at this late hour. OHMSS wouldn’t have been listed on the ones I bought because I bought the hardback 1st edition, along with all of the earlier paperbacks. YOLT wasn’t even out yet, and I read it serialized in Playboy before buying the hardback 1st when that was released, so that wouldn’t be listed. I don’t understand why The Spy Who Loved Me isn’t listed. My ’63 pb of that book matches the rest of the set. Now, I’m curious. I have to spelunk down into the catacombs to see what the back covers of mine look like. I do vaguely remember that they do have lists.

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