Best Value Books

Hurst & Company (New York, US)
Series dates: 1912-1915
Size: 5″ x 7.5″

Hurst published a tremendous number of reprint book series in the late 1800s through early 1900s. Many of the series were for children or were gift editions (in boxes, with elaborate but relatively cheap bindings). The Best Value Books series was undoubtedly in reaction to the growing number of inexpensive reprint series focused on out-of-copyright classic titles that were being published by 1912. Best Value Books were cheap (.50 cents) and plainly bound. The jackets are a common design, with the author/title printed in red on the spine and cover.


The back of the jacket indicates the list of over 100 “popular and standard authors” in the series. The series name is only indicated on the jacket. The book itself lacks any indication of the series (and no copyright date).


A few years after the Best Value Series Hurst would initiate the Companion Books series (in 1918) that emulated the very popular Modern Library series published by Boni and Liveright.