Clipper Books

The Continental Book Company AB (Stockholm, London)
Series dates: 1942-1946
Size: 6″ x 8.5″

The Continental Book Company was a subsidiary of the Bonnier Group media corporation (with its origins in publishing, founded in 1804). The Continental Book Company was organized in 1942 to issue the Clipper Books and Zephyr Books series. The Clipper Books were clothbound and replicated the books and jacket designs of the original titles. The series reached only 19 titles. The more lucrative paperbound Zephyr Books reached 230 volumes (some double volume titles) in 1945. The last Clipper Books title was published in 1946, the last Zephyr Books title was published in 1949.

The Clipper Books followed the model of the Book of the Month Club and other similar book clubs in publishing new titles about the same time as the publisher’s trade edition with the book and jacket largely identical to the original edition. They are, in most cases (if not all), the first Continental edition of the titles. As with the Tauchnitz Editions, the books were intended to be sold outside of the US and UK, in the European market (where similar series such as Tauchnitz were no longer publishing due to the war). As noted above, the Clipper Books series, cloth-bound and larger in format, did not prove popular, and the Continental Book Co. then emphasized the smaller, paperbound Zephyr Books. But even then, post-WW2 competition from the Penguin Books and other paperback series quickly quashed the Zephyr Books.

Jackets for Clipper Books titles should be identical to those issued by the original publisher, except in a few details (such as the imprint on the jacket, the rear jacket panel, and the imprint in the book). The jackets for the series, then, are unique to each title. In the case of C.S. Forester’s The Captain from Connecticut, an illustration spans the spine and jacket front. The title and author, along with the Clipper Books imprint, are on the jacket spine. The series name is not on the front of the jacket nor the front jacket flap. The front jacket flap describes the book (the description continues to the back jacket flap). There is no price on the jacket.

The rear of the jacket lists seven titles in the series with a brief description of each. The Continental Book Co., Stockholm, is listed at the end of the list. In all, the series reached at least 19 titles, the last published in 1946.

The Moon is Down, by John Steinbeck
Dragon Seed, by Pearl Sydenstricker Buck
The Empty Room, by Charles Morgan
The Captain from Connecticut, by C.S. Forester
Saratoga Trunk, by Edna Ferber
Frenchman’s Creek, by Daphne Du Maurier
Wild is the River, Louis Bromfield
Money in the Bank, by P.G. Wodehouse
Botany Bay, by Charles Nordhoff & J.N. Hall

Signed With Their Honour, by James Aldridge
Black-out in Gretley, by J.B. Priestley
The Ship, by C.S. Forester
The Hour Before the Dawn, by W. Somerset Maugham
Was There Love Once? by Ernest Raymond
Until the Day Break, by Louis Bromfield
Drivin’ Woman, by Elizabeth Pickett Chevalier

The Razor’s Edge, by W. Somerset Maugham
The Promise, by Pearl Buck

Forever Amber, by Kathleen Winsor

Quarter bound in dark brown cloth with heavy linen paper (tan-orange) on the front and rear covers. The Clipper Books imprint is on the spine and the book title on the front of the book.

The half-title page:

“Copyright 1941 by C.S. Forester
First published in the U.S.A 1941
This edition must not be introduced in
the British Empire or the U.S.A.”

The title page includes the date of publication, 1942.

The reverse of the title page is blank, the copyright information faces the title page.

The “Sthlm. Alb. Bonniers boktr. 1942”