31 Days of Nancy Drew Topic #4
Nancy Drew Special Book Club Editions - A Brief Overview
There were 4 kinds of book club editions issued for the classic Nancy Drew books.
1. Nancy Drew Readers' Club - "Cameo Editions"
Collectors refer to these as the Cameo Editions because of the cameo image of Nancy Drew. There were 12 of these issued in 2 sets in 1959 and 1960 by Doubleday. They were illustrated by Polly Bolian. They were larger sized hardcovers than the regular books and inside had sets of full page illustrations in black and white and the frontispiece illustration before the story begins is in color and replicated the image on the front of the dust jacket
Volumes in the set include #1 The Secret of the Old Clock, #2 The Hidden Staircase, #27 The Secret of the Wooden Lady, #28 The Clue of the Black Keys, #29 The Mystery at the Ski Jump, #30 The Clue of the Velvet Mask, #31 The Ringmaster's Secret, #32 The Scarlet Slipper Mystery, #33 The Witch Tree Symbol, #34 The Hidden Window Mystery, #35 The Haunted Showboat and #36 The Secret of the Golden Pavilion.
The endpapers featured a brightly colored ribbon design - Wooden Lady comes with two different colored ribbons (purple and turquoise).
View the illustrations and internals at my website.
Interesting to note - the poster advertisement for the club has art designed by Rudy Nappi, however they did not choose Nappi to illustrate these editions. I have been adding images to my Pinterest of various collectibles and have a board just for book club editions to showcase the advertising that went along with them and you can see everything here.
2. Nancy Drew's Inner Circle - Yellow Spine Picture Cover Book Club Editions
Books 1-32 were issued as book club editions, by Grolier - the back covers are all blank - no lists of books and no volume number on the spines. Sometimes you find them where someone has written the volume number on the spine. There was a membership card that was sent out to those who joined the club which I managed to acquire because it was inside my book club edition of Scarlet Slipper when I purchased it. Later I found TV Guides that featured the club advertisement and it all came full circle. I like piecing together the advertising and production history behind these books.
3. Nancy Drew Twin Thriller Book Club
Books 1-54 were issued in this set with 2 volumes in each book. The only original text to make it into print was #13, The Mystery of the Ivory Charm, the rest are revised versions of 1-12 and 14-34 and then the one text of 35-54. The club was sponsored by Parents' Magazine and I've managed to acquire a few magazines featuring the ads for this club as well as other publications it ran in like Children's Digest and Young Miss in the mid-late 1970s. I even purchased a charm at eBay thanks to @jim who spotted it - an Official Twin Thriller Mystery Charm - I can't say with 100% certainty that it was related to this club but being a magnifying glass and using the same name, I think it must have been part of the promotion at some point. A Google search uncovers no other clues. If anyone has further clues on this charm, would love more details. Also issued in this format was a taller version of the first 8 books in the set - the taller versions have a different numbering system on the back cover - the tall ones have 11 beginning the number sequence, the shorter ones start with 10.
4. Nancy Drew HC/DJ Book Club Editions
The first 3 books were issued in hardcover - a mustard yellow - with dust jackets featuring yellow spines and the current 3rd Nappi art at the time these were published. Noted inside as being book club editions. And also, Wanderers - 57-59: The Triple Hoax, The Flying Saucer Mystery, and The Secret in the Old Lace were also printed as book club editions.
I loved finding the books in these sets but the behind the scenes advertising and club materials are much more fun to find and piece the puzzle together of when/where/how these were advertised.
Where do I find book club editions? You can find them easily at eBay - don't be shy, jump right in and begin that book club collection :) You can check other sites like Etsy and your local used bookstores/antique malls too. I often see the twin thrillers out in the wild more than any of the others. Of the Cameos some of the volumes can be harder to find and often you will find them without dust jackets too but at least they have the color frontispiece. One way to spot the yellow spine book clubs online is if the spines don't have volume numbers for 1-30 or the back cover is shown and is totally solid yellow/no printing, then you'll know what they are.
In the comments, let me know, do you collect the book club editions? If not, have I inspired you to start? Which book club editions are your favorite kind? Do you have any book club memorabilia like the posters or advertising items. If you have something I don't have have on my Pinterest board for the book clubs - please share as I'm always looking to see more varied styles of ads and looking for something that mentions that charm.