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Collins Crime Club

A Brief History

Buy Collins Crime Club Books

There can be few, if any, publishers as important and evocative in the world of detective fiction as the 'Collins Crime Club'. It was launched on 6 May 1930 as an imprint/extension of the Collins publishing house and remained active, albeit latterly less so, until April 1994.

We always welcome correspondence and anecdotal information from anyone who used to work for, or was associated in any way with, this publisher. Please do get in touch

The first three titles to be published were The Noose by Philip Macdonald, Shock ! by Virgil Markham and The Bowery Street Murder by Willard K. Smith. The original idea, and subsequent marketing strategy, was to build a mailing list of members and keep them informed of the latest releases. All books urged readers to 'Join the Crime Club' as did dust jackets, wrap round bands and postcards laid inside the books.

We have a selection of these ephemeral items CCC Ephemera

It is a popular misconception that it was a 'book club' which supplied books directly at reduced rates. All books were available at normal retail outlets and public libraries. Readers were informed in advance via the quarterly magazine of the forthcoming titles for the next three months.

We have put an issue online so people can see one Crime Club Magazine

The magazine also included reviews, adverts and crosswords. We are keen to acquire copies of the newsletters so please contact us at the link below should you have any you may consider selling. All the titles were supposedly selected by a 'Panel of Experts' to ensure that the reader was only ever offered the finest titles ! Each month, one title was selected as the 'Book of the Month'.
The publishers claimed to have 20,000 subscribers within the first two years. The success, or otherwise, of the Club itself is a matter for conjecture. What cannot be doubted, however, is the success of the books. With such authors as Agatha Christie, Anthony Abbot, John Rhode, ECR Lorac and Freeman Wills Crofts, to name but a few, it is hardly surprising the venture was such a success.

The cachet of being a Collins Crime Club title is possibly greater now than it was then. Whilst many of their authors are collected in their own right, many of their 'Second Division' authors owe their present collectablility almost solely to their publisher. A large part of the attraction for collectors is, of course, the superb dust jackets which adorned so many of the earlier titles.

Collins Crime Club and the Collector

This brings us to collecting in todays market. Needless to say, pre war titles in dust jacket are scarce and as a consequence can be relatively expensive. If you are considering, and why not, a foray into the world of collecting CCC, then there are some basic facts of which you should be aware. First edition status is of course of the utmost importance when assertaining value. Whilst reprints are not without value or interest, there is a considerable difference in value.

For in-depth issue points pertaining to specific books our bibliography section should be consulted. We have set out a rough 'rule of thumb' guide below.

Books

All books should be dated - any undated book is a reprint.
We have uncovered a probable single exception to this rule, more details here
Also please note: After the Funeral by Agatha Christie is dated, but to the rear

Books should have Orange/Red cloth and black lettering - black or blue etc cloth = REPRINT.
This means reprint, they are not 'later issue' or variant bindings!

Dust Jackets

Dust wrappers should be priced at 7/6 or more, less than 7/6 indicates later or cheap edition.

Jackets that are unpriced are 'Colonial Editions' which were intended for India, New Zealand and Australia etc. Many of these have since found their way back to the UK.

If a dust jacket is price-clipped, attention should be paid to the chronology of the other titles advertised and their relation to the book's date.

And Finally...

We hope this has given you a basic insight and overview of this publishers imprint and has answered any questions that you may have had. Collecting CCC can be highly rewarding and enjoyable, although somewhat addictive, and it is a branch of collecting we can heartily recommend.
We do accept, however, that there are people who may wish to dispose of their books and to that end we are always seeking to acquire pre 1945 CCC. Should you have any suitable books you would consider selling then please do not hesitate to contact us

Urgently wanted Collins Crime Club pre 1945


Text © 2004 R.D. Collins

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