Modern Library Mini Paperbacks

In February 1996 the Modern Library published a set of six "mini" paperbacks for Valentines Day.  Apparently, the idea was to have additional sets in this "mini paperback" series for other holidays, and Henry Toledano has stated that others were announced, but never published.

Barry Neavill's comments on this series are: "There was a short-lived fad for paperback minis at this period. I have a feeling Penguin Books started it, but I'd have to check to make sure. The ML jumped on the fad as it was fading, and the initial list of six titles was the last. The six titles were displayed in cardboard display cases supplied by the ML and sold for $1.99 each."

The ML minis are 6" x 4" and quite thin, with page lengths being between 53 pages (Donne's Going to Bed and Other Poems) and 84 pages (Colette's Bella-Vista).  The other four titles all have page lengths in the mid to upper 50 page range.  Despite the narrow spine, the title, author, "A Modern Library Mini," and a torchbearer are all present as shown below.

The format for each title is the same.  The front cover has a background of white and gold horizontal bars with a torchbearer, title, author, and themed picture.  The back cover has the same background, with a solid gold box containing the price ($1.99 USA, $2.75 Canada), a blurb about the title, a list of the six ML mini paperbacks, and the ISBN plus bar code in a white box.  The ISBNs were allocated sequentially, almost in alphabetical order by author last name (Wilde is out of place).

The inside rear cover states "A selection of the over 140 Modern Library hardcovers" followed by around twenty titles.  The list of titles is unique to each book, and is related to the author and/or book subject matter.  For example, Colette's Bella-Vista list contains only female authors, and other titles contain within the list additional titles by the same author.  The reader is given contact information to write for information at:
  The Modern Library
  Random House, Inc.
  201 E. 50th Street
  New York, N.Y.  10022

An example front and back for Wilde's Salome is shown below.


A list of the six titles follows, with links to cover images on their respective author pages.

Thomas Bulfinch, Cupid and Psyche and Other Fables
Colette, Bella-Vista
John Donne, Going to Bed and Other Poems
John O'Hara, We'll Have Fun
Mark Twain, Diary of Adam and Eve
Oscar Wilde, Salome