In search of old pulp novels

I’m looking for a stash of old pulp novels. The sort of things that was the 60s and 70s male equivalent of Mills and Boon. The Executioner series, Nick Carter, that sort of stuff. Ideally I’d like to get 50 or 100 of them (there were several such series, each of which ran to hundreds of novels).

Back in Bath for a day I checked the various second hand shops and all agreed that they used to be very common. But they’ve not been around for perhaps a decade as the sort of stuff that flows through such shops. I’ve not yet looked on Amazon or e-Bay, where I assume I will be able to find them.

But does anyone have any other bright ideas? Perhaps someone has a few shelves full that I can buy off them? There’s a specialist shop somewhere that delights in supplying such things?

As to why I want them, well, have an idea for a little project. About which more some other time.

25 comments on “In search of old pulp novels

  1. You may be able to find a nearby National Trust property which has, as many do, a second-hand book-shop. (I happen to know that there’s at least one such in Cornwall, but that’s a bit far for you.)

  2. abebooks is excellent, though a lot of the books are also listed on ebay. It’s an internet storefront for a large number of second hand bookshops and dealers.

  3. online’s the obvious place but which second hand places in Bath did you try? If you haven’t asked, there’s a big Oxfam bookshop down by Goth Green or the little SHBS up on Margaret’s Buildings usually has a good stack of paperback

  4. Completely OT – Why doesn’t Google seem to index this site, and can it be fixed because the search function here is crap with little hope of finding comments or even blog posts written months ago?

    If there is a way around it someone please let me know!

  5. Unfortunately not, Bing and Yahoo don’t seem to have you either.

    Looking at WordPress, if you go to your Dashboard > Settings > Reading > Site Visibility >Allow search engines to index this site

  6. I happen to know that one of the Cancer Charity shops in Borehamwood has almost the complete ouvre of Mack Bolan.
    This is because I emptied my garage two weeks ago, where they had been festering for 20 odd years, and where they were taken. Come to that loads of J.T.Edson, they were crap, The Destroyer…
    Timing as they say is everything!

  7. Matt hints at a possible source.
    The big charities tend to be fairly ruthless about their donations stock because they do think in terms of vending space efficiency. Having, at one time, had a bit of a thing for old SF pulps & blues records, it was usually the single outlet charities & scruffiest of junk shops proved gold-mines. Trouble being, the same sometimes have a totally unrealistic idea of what they’re worth. Can be 5p. Can be a quid, because anything between covers with pages is a book.

  8. Pulp originals from Gold Medal, Lion Books, Dell etc may be out of your price range, although less popular authors still sell for a couple of pounds. Series novels can be cheap (they were obviously popular writers) but some titles can be collectable.

    Ian Fleming sold in paperback for Pan, Mickey Spillane for Corgi, Richard Allen (skinhead series) for New English Library — two or three pounds for a reading copy (ie faded, more or less complete, intact spine).

    Charity shops tend to price older books on Abe values. They are often over priced because Abe dealers target buyers who want a book and who want it tomorrow. Professional book sellers are more realistic; if you turn up at the counter with an armful of low value pulps, they’ll count them and offer a fair discount.

    To buy in volume, eBay is the best option. Buy cheap and be prepared to send a lot of junk to a charity shop.

  9. Is it the content or the actual physical books you’re after, Tim? If the former, I’m sure you can find hundreds of ebooks in about five minutes on Piratebay.

  10. abe served me well and were fair and accurate with their price/condition, but ultimately it was ebay that filled in most of the gaps. Although, for budgeting reasons, expect to do a third more trades to account for the obvious disappointments.

    Original Puffins for a keepsake ‘loom, since you weren’t going to ask. We had most of them anyway.

  11. We had a son do an English Lit degree so there were novels, poetry books, Shakespeare and text books to buy, I don’t think abe.books let us down once.

    I wouldn’t be seen dead in one of the shops of the socialist, anti-semitic, global warming misinformation peddling Oxfam, I’d rather do without than voluntarily give it my money to promote its warped world view.

  12. Can’t you ask Gordon Brown (or the Murphaloon) for all those unsold copies?

    (Assuming that you want them for the paper not the content.)

  13. I think I read this in a spy novel. You want the blank fly sheets for forging old documents, don’tcha?

  14. Hay on Wye is the most likely place to find that number of books, if you’re out that way. There is a shop there that specialises in crime fiction (slightly more pricey though) but the Cinema or Booths will probably have a good selection too.

  15. Still not sure if you want the hard copies or not.

    If you don’t, then try usenet. Get some software like binsearch, and pay a fee for some downloading volume, and you’re on your way.

    I have been packing up my small collection of pulp paperbacks … mostly Conan the Barbarian books and other trade fantasy. I found them all in usenet (original Frazetta covers too), and they now reside on my Kindle if I have the urge.

    N.B. Yes, I know, I just violated the first rule of usenet.

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