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Reclam's Universal Library: the full collection of identically-sized, and coloured Reclam book publications
A 1902 catalog

Reclam Verlag or just Reclam is a German publishing house, established in Leipzig in 1828 by Anton Philipp Reclam. It is known for its "little yellow books", in particular those of its "universal library" (Universal-Bibliothek).

In 1912 it became the first company to introduce book vending machines to Germany.

During Nazi rule in Germany, Reclam was forbidden to publish books by some authors, and particularly by Jewish authors. In an allied bombing raid on Leipzig in World War II on December 4, 1943, 450 tons of books were destroyed.

After the partition of Germany in the aftermath of the war, the house was divided after the owner was partly dispossessed in the Soviet occupation zone and in September 1947 the main office was moved to Stuttgart, (then American occupation zone, later West Germany). Since 1980, the house's head office has been in nearby Ditzingen. The original parent house in Leipzig remained there, but was nationalized by the Communist regime of East Germany until German reunification. Eventually, Leipzig was given up in 2006. The house has always been family property.

The colour code of their Reclams Universal-Bibliothek  (de) edition is as follows: the (most popular) yellow books contain classic works of the German language and other languages translated into German (e.g. Lady Windermere's Fan by Oscar Wilde), classics in their original foreign language (with lexical and vocabulary help) are red (in English, French, Spanish, Italian, Latin, and Russian). bi-lingual books (German and the original language) are in orange, blue is the colour for study guides, green for original historical sources with explanations, and magenta for non-fiction: politics, history, society, natural sciences, art, music or religion.

The popularity of the publishing house, especially the Universal-Bibliothek, is largely due to its particularly inexpensive prices. Thus they are fairly widespread all over the German-speaking countries.


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