Bantam Books

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Bantam Books
Bantam Books
Parent companyRandom House
Founded1945; 73 years ago (1945)
FounderWalter B. Pitkin, Jr.
Sidney B. Kramer
Ian Ballantine
Betty Ballantine
Country of originUnited States
Headquarters locationNew York City, New York

Bantam Books is an American publishing house owned entirely by parent company Random House, a subsidiary of Penguin Random House; it is an imprint of the Random House Publishing Group. It was formed in 1945 by Walter B. Pitkin, Jr., Sidney B. Kramer, and Ian and Betty Ballantine. It has since been purchased several times by companies including National General, Carl Lindner's American Financial and, most recently, Bertelsmann; it became part of Random House in 1998, when Bertelsmann purchased it to form Bantam Doubleday Dell.[1] It began as a mass market publisher, mostly of reprints of hardcover books, with some original paperbacks as well. It expanded into both trade paperback and hardcover books, including original works, often reprinted in house as mass-market editions.

Financial problems[edit]

The company was failing when Oscar Dystel, who had previously worked at Esquire and as editor on Coronet magazine was hired in 1954 to manage it. By the end of the next year the company was profitable. Dystel retired as chairman in 1980. By that time Bantam was the largest publisher of paperbacks, had over 15% of the market, and exceeded US$100 million in sales.[2]

Books published[edit]

Bantam has published the entire original run of the "Choose Your Own Adventure" series of children's books, as well as the first original novels based upon the Star Trek franchise, publishing about a dozen such books between 1970 and 1982, when the license was taken over by Pocket Books. Bantam also published a dozen volumes of short story adaptations of scripts from Star Trek: The Original Series. Bantam is the American paperback publisher of The Guinness Book of Records. Another series was "Bantam War Book" from the 1970s to the 90s, with the majority of books from World War II, but also from Vietnam, Korea and other conflicts.

Other series include Bantam Classics, the Bantam Spectra science fiction imprint, the juvenile Skylark imprint, and editions of Shakespeare.

Bantam Classics[edit]

The series was started in 1958. It reprints mostly public domain, unabridged classic books, intended to increase backlist sales and reintroduce the works to new audiences. More than a hundred books have been released in the series.[3][4]

Like competing editions, some Bantam Classics are printed with an introduction from a literary critic, and in the case of Moby Dick, with a selection of critical essays on the novel appended as well.[5]


Authors originally published exclusively or significantly by Bantam include:

Books originally published by Bantam[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Andrews, Edmund L. (29 March 1998). "The World: Bertelsmann Swallows Random House; American Pop Culture, Foreign-Owned". The New York Times. Retrieved 22 August 2014.
  2. ^ Martin, Douglas (May 29, 2014). "Oscar Dystel, Who Saved Bantam Books, Dies at 101". The New York Times. p. B19. Retrieved May 29, 2014. ... combined sharp editorial judgments, shrewd marketing and attention-grabbing covers to propel Bantam Books from the brink of collapse to pre-eminence in paperback publishing after World War II ...
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ [2]
  5. ^ Melville, Herman (1981). Walcutt, Charles Child, ed. Moby-Dick (Bantam Classics ed.). Bantam. pp. viii–xii, 549–593. ISBN 0553213113.

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