Pilot Omnibus

The Pilot Press (London, UK)
Series dates: 1945-1947
Size: 6″ x 8.75″

Duell, Sloan, and Pearce (New York, US)
Series dates: 1945-1946

Peter Davies (London, UK)
Series dates: 1947
Size: 6″ x 8.75″

The Pilot Press was founded in the late 1930s by Kalman Lantos, a wealthy Hungarian. It was managed by Charles Madge, a South African born author, sociologist and poet. The press issued a significant number of books related to WW2 and its immediate aftermath. Lantos died in 1948, and the Pilot Press folded soon afterward.

The Pilot Omnibus Books were one of a few fiction reprint series (Pilot Classics was another of their series) published by Pilot in the mid to late 1940s. The Pilot Omnibus Books were collections of novels and other shorter works, some by individual authors and some thematically related. There seem to be 7 titles in the series, numbered (except for the final title) in series and issued in 1945-1947. Duell, Sloan, and Peirce published the first three titles in the series in the US. It’s likely the series was not selling well and it was dropped by Duell, Sloan, and Peirce. The last four titles in the series were published, apparently, without a US distributor. UK Publisher Peter Davies co-published the final volume (Du Maurier) in the UK. This is the only title I have not found a serial number for, but it is the 7th a last title issued in the series.

** #1: Novels of Mystery from the Victorian Age, Maurice Richardson (ed.).
** #2: Novels and Stories by Robert Louis Stevenson, V.S. Pritchett (ed.)

** #3: Great French Romances, Richard Aldington (ed.)
#4: Novels and Stories by Anthony Trollope, John Hampden (ed.).

#5: Novels by the Bronte Sisters, Peter Quennell (ed.).
#6: Novels of High Society from the Victorian Age, Anthony Powell (ed.).
*Novels of George Du Maurier, John Masefield and Daphne du Maurier (eds.).

All Pilot Press imprint
*Pilot Press & Peter Davies (UK) imprint
**Pilot Press & Duell, Sloan and Peirce (US) imprint

An additional title, The Patchwork Book. A Pilot Omnibus for Children, Marghanita Laski (ed.) was published in 1946 and includes “Pilot Omnibus” in the title, but it is not included in any of the series lists.

Jackets for the series are unique to each title. A few titles have two different jacket designs. The Novels of George Du Maurier was the last book issued in the series, published by the Pilot Press and Peter Davies, Ltd. in the UK. This large book has three of Du Maurier’s novels and an introduction by writers John Masefield and Daphne Du Maurier. The series name is included on the front of the jacket, along with an illustration of Du Maurier, the individual novels in the omnibus and the authors of the introduction. The front jacket flap blurbs the book and includes the price of 16s.

The back of the jacket lists the first six titles issued in the series and includes blurbs from reviews of each title.

Red cloth bindings have gold typography.

The half-title page:

Titles in the series face the title page, with its dual publisher imprint.

The copyright page includes the year of publication (1947) Pilot Press address at  45 Great Russel Street, London. “Printed in the Netherlands by N.V. Van Munster’s Drukkerijen, Amsterdam.”