PUBLISHER : George Munro, New York, 1868-1893; George Munro and Company, 1864-1868; George Munro's Sons, 1893-1906; George Munro Publishing House, 1906-1908.

The 1870s saw a rapid expansion of cheap book publishing. The lack of an international copyright agreement made it easy to reprint popular English fiction, and by holding the costs to a minimum the reprint house was able to turn a quick profit. Such a venture was the Seaside Library, which Munro began in May 1877 with the publication of Mrs. Henry Wood's East Lynne. The Seaside Library was a series of cheap quartos, often printed two or three columns to a page. Single volumes sold for ten cents, two-volume sets for twenty. Despite strong competition, the Seaside Library quickly dominated the market.... An average of 10,000 copies of each Seaside title were sold. (DLB 49). By 1883 the overproduction of paperbacks caused such a glut that the American News Company, to cite one instance, returned to Seaside Library 1,200,000 copies it could not sell. Later Munro disposed of 3,000,000 of his unsalable reprints for $30,000 to soap companies which gave a free copy with each bar of soap. (Madison, p54). See also DLB.

There is a entry for Munro, written by Oliver Wendell Holmes, in the Dictionary of American Biography (volume 13, pages 331-332). Munro was born in 1825; died April 23, 1896. Schurman includes some further information on this company and Shove has nine pages on Munro and the Seaside Library; see research tools. For an 1883 brief biography and a portrait of Munro, click here. In 1890 Munro leased rights to the Seaside Library to John W. Lovell's attempt to create a monopoly for reprinters; for the decision in an 1896 suit which emerged from that lease, click here. Some additional information is on the Major Publishers pages maintained by the Hyde Park Book Store.

LUCILE’s ISSUED BY George Munro:

Copyrighted 1880. About 210x320mm (double-column magazine format). XXXVII Double Number. Seaside Library No. 766. Price 20 cents. Library of Congress; Harvard: with cover page listing authors represented in the Seaside Library.


Last revised: 1 October 2010