Center Books

Sun Dial Press (imprint of Doubleday; Garden City NJ, US)
Series dates: 1942-1943
Size: 5.25″ x 7.5″

center_books_logoA relatively short-lived series of popular fiction reprints named after the Sun Dial Press / Doubleday main office in Rockefeller Center in New York City. The series is akin to other popular reprint fiction such as Blue Ribbon Books, Grosset and Dunlap and Star BooksThe focus is on mysteries, westerns, and miscellaneous popular fiction, most of it originally published in the 1930s.

Jackets are unique to each title, in most cases probably using artwork from the original editions of the books. This copy of Mignon G. Eberhart’s Hasty Wedding is a September 1942 Center Books printing of a 1937 original edition of the book. The Center Books logo and name are on the jacket spine. The illustration wraps around the spine onto the front of the jacket. A quote from the book is included on the front of the jacket. The front flap details the book in a bit more detail than is typical but is likely borrowed from the original blurb from the original edition. The Center Books indication is at the base of the front flap.


The rear of the jacket advertises the series – “Brand New,” “Full Size,” and “Cloth Bound.” I’m not sure why “Brand New” is a selling point. The selection of titles available is praised and, as usual, the cheap price (compared to original editions) is stressed. Fifteen titles are included on the back. One can send for a full listing of titles from the publisher. The rear flap includes a list of 18 titles, repeating the list on the rear of the jacket. Oddly, a “clippable” corner on the rear jacket flap contains the name of this particular title, listed as No. 11 in the series. It’s not clear why one would want to clip off the name of the book in this manner. No price is included on the jacket, suggesting the prices on these books were not set and they were most likely offered on sale.


Bindings are basic cloth, in this case, blue with maroon decorations and typography. The spine includes the Center Books logo and a skeleton indicates this title is a mystery.


The paper is coarse and (after 70 years) yellowing.


A list of the author’s titles faces the title page. The Center Books logo is also included on the title page.


The copyright page includes original and Center Books dates of publication.