About BookScans


Go to the Scans (Database Index)


Reference Library


Vintage Paperback Oddities


Kenneth R. Johnson's Reference Works


Jim Fitzpatrick'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 1979





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. There are more than 7,000 entries in the "Interpretations" folder. *






Robert Gaines has taken over the BookScans "TWINS" Section, which illustrates the use of "recycled" cover artwork during the Vintage Period. More than 11,000 scans of  paperback and pulp magazine covers are included. *





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 9,500 scans of adult books published in the 1950's and 60's.





442 scans added in February!


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

Anders Nilsson, Anne-Marie Steenbergen, Bill Taylor, Bob Gaines, Brian Maginnity, The CA Kid, David Pelinka, Gary Stevens, Gunnar Olsen, Hooked on Books, Jackson Sellwood, Jim Fitzpatrick, Kenneth R. Johnson, Michael, Mick Cocksedge, Rick Beckham and Steve Ericson.


Look for the new Update under Update 42.


The total number of unique images is now over 111,000.



That figure includes more than:

98,000 vintage paperback cover images

4,400 reference books & publications

6,000 pulp magazines, digest magazines and dime novels


... plus, there are tens of thousands of duplicated images in special groups; i.e., by  "Twin Covers," authors or other "Special Categories" and "Cover Interpretations."


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


PLEASE NOTE: Due to a family illness, I did not update the website in October. I will leave an extra "Update" folder on the Database page so that all the scans are present.

ALSO: The BookScans collection is moving from Southern Illinois to Western Oregon. I endeavor to help anyone who writes me seeking bibliographic information. But, my 30,000 books are boxed up at the moment. I'll let you know when we are in our new home, and they're back on their shelves. Thanks for your patience.



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



I am in the process of completely updating the 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.) I'm busy updating menus and index pages to help you browse the various sub-sections.



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.

I am also honored to host Jim Fitzpatrick's online work The Canadian Paperback Guide. It includes a richly illustrated index for Collins White Circle. AND NOW: Jim has completed his history and illustrated index of the first 500 Harlequin books!

Click HERE.




Strange! Odd! Weird!


 More entries in the section:

Vintage Paperback Oddities!






Can You Help Identify These Paintings?

BookScans needs your help figuring out where these illustrations were used. Please click HERE. Many thanks to the website viewers who helped us find out what became of some of these fascinating pieces of original cover art. Several pieces have been identified recently.




Upcoming Events!



Pulp Adventurecon



Saturday, February 9th

Fort Lauderdale, FL

Visit their WEBSITE




 Los Angeles Vintage Paperback
Collectors Show



Sunday March 24th

Glendale Civic Auditorium


Visit their WEBSITE




Windy City Pulp and Paper Convention


April 12th - 14th

Westin Lombard Yorktown Center


Visit their WEBSITE






August 15th - 18th


DoubleTree - Cranberry

near Pittsburgh, PA


Visit their WEBSITE








* Scans for Murder on the Links were contributed by: Courtesy of Brian Maginnity and Robert Gaines.

The "TWIN" images were found by Robert Gaines.



Please report any broken links.





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This page was updated in February, 2019