About BookScans


Go to the Scans (Database Index)


Reference Library


Vintage Paperback Oddities


Kenneth R. Johnson's Reference Works






Web Site Contributors


Scans Needed to Complete the Project


How to Contribute Scans


Legal Stuff


Contact Bookscans


Graphically illustrating the evolution of  Vintage American Paperbacks - 1939 through 1959 (and beyond)




BookScans is a free online reference site listing tens of thousands of .jpg images, arranged numerically, by publisher, displaying how cover images and graphics changed during the early years of paperbacks. Click "Go to the Scans" to see the Database Index Page for easy navigation to the various sections.




Trying to find a particular vintage paperback? There are plenty of resources to help you find a title or author (see "Reference Library"). BookScans is designed to let you see what the book looks like.



Back Covers 

Included in the BookScans database are images of significant back-cover artwork. This technique was especially prevalent with early Dell and later Popular Library books, as well as Bantam, Lion, and other publishers.



Artistic Interpretations       


Also included in BookScans is a section that is made up of different covers for the same literary work. (Sometimes the title changed ... or the author was a pseudonym, like these two books.) There are more than 4,000 entries in the "Interpretations" folder. (I'll be adding a couple thousand more scans to this section later in October.)




Robert Gaines has taken over the BookScans "TWINS" Section, which illustrates the use of "recycled" cover artwork during the Vintage Period. More than 7,000 scans of  paperback and pulp magazine covers are included. (Bob has just sent me more than 800 additional scans for this section. I'll add them soon.)




I need collectors to help me fill in the blanks. Please help complete the BookScans Project by sending me scans of your vintage books. I'll be sure to give you credit for your contributions. Click the "About BookScans" link to learn more, and check out "Scans Needed to Complete the Project" to see which ones are needed most.




BookScans is NOT an adult-oriented web site. However, the inclusion of these books is vital for an accurate study of vintage paperback history and marketing techniques. While the covers for the  "60's Sleaze" and "Sexy Digests" sections are pretty tame compared to today's adult standards, some viewer discretion is advised. Together, those two sections include 8,300 scans of adult books published in the 1950's and 60's.



1,084 scans added in October!

Many, many thanks to contributors of cover scans and information during the past four months:

Anonymous, Bill Kelly, Bill Taylor, Bob Gaines, Brian Anderson, Brian Maginnity, Chris Hoth, Don Napoli,
Gunnar Olsen, Hooked on Books,
Jennifer White, Jerry Boyajian, Jerry Woloshyn, Joan Santacana, Kathy Godfrey, Kenneth R. Johnson, Michael McQuarrie, Mick Cocksedge,, Paul Eng, Patricia Marcantel, Peter de Vos, Robert Wiener, Steve Ericson, Steve Wallace, Tom Daniels, Uilke Komrij, Wampuscat and Will Murray.

Look for the new Update under Update 30.

The total number of unique images is now over 93,000.



That figure includes more than:

83,000 vintage paperback cover images

4,000 reference books & publications

6,000 pulp magazines, digest magazines and dime novels


... plus, there are more than 15,000 duplicated images in special groups; i.e., by author, "twin covers," or other special categories.


I will update the BookScans web site three times a year: in February, June and October.


Many thanks to vintage paperback enthusiasts who have pointed out errors on the web site. I strive to keep the information as accurate as possible. Please keep emailing me your comments and criticisms.


The Reference Library




Please browse through The BookScans Reference Library, which contains scans of more than 4,000 books, magazines and fanzines. Many thanks to Bob Gaines for his numerous contributions.


Free On-Line Reference Books:



BookScans is proud to host Kenneth R. Johnson's book Defunct Paperbacks, which joins his masterpiece The Digest Index as another definitive work on vintage paperback books. Click HERE.




What's New?


I have tried to add a Complete List of ALL mass market paperback publishers (before 1980) on the Database Index Page (the link is near the top). Please email me with suggested additions or corrections.


Strange!  Odd!  Weird!




Seven more Vintage Paperback Oddities!



Included this time:

Another Italian Movie Poster by Michael McQuarrie. Click HERE.

And a solution to this Signet question. Click HERE.



Plus, more LINKS!



Can You Help Identify These Paintings?

BookScans needs your help figuring out where these illustrations were used. Please click HERE. Many thanks to Bob Gaines, Glenn Goggin, Jim Riggs and other viewers who helped us find out what became of these fascinating pieces of original cover art.




This Year's Upcoming Events!


Pulp Adventurecon 2014

Saturday, November 1st, 10 am - 5 pm

At the Bordentown, NJ  Ramada Inn

Visit their WEB SITE




Please report any broken links.




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This page was updated in October, 2014