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The covers presented on this page are displayed in the order they were first released in the USA, which for some series was not the same publication order of the Ian Fleming novels in hardcover. As such this provides a far more interesting historical context to the publishing history of the James Bond novels in paperback in the USA.

APPENDIX B: Ian Fleming's James Bond novels - a complete checklist by title of all US paperback cover variations

007 MAGAZINE Collectors' Guide to
 James Bond US Paperbacks
WRITTEN & COMPILED BY KEVIN HARPER

The publishing history of the James Bond novels in the United States of America is not as straightforward as it was in the United Kingdom, as the rights to Ian Fleming's early books were originally held by different publishers. Before all titles were acquired by the New American Library and issued in paperback under their Signet imprint, the early James Bond novels were not published in uniform editions, and their position in the marketplace was not established until much later than in the UK. American paperback editions of Ian Fleming's first four James Bond novels appeared in the mid-1950s, with CASINO ROYALE re-titled You Asked For It, as it was felt that American readers wouldn't be able to pronounce ‘Royale’. MOONRAKER was similarly re-titled Too Hot To Handle, possibly in order to avoid any confusion with the then-current Arthur Watkins stage play The Moonraker, which was later filmed in 1958 starring George Baker [Sir Hilary Bray in On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969)]. The first four Ian Fleming novels were issued with garish pulp thriller-style covers that did not look out of place amongst the other cheap detective fiction available at bookstalls across the USA.

You Asked For It (CASINO ROYALE) Popular Library paperback

LIVE AND LET DIE Perma Books Paperback

Too Hot To Handle (MOONRAKER) Perma Books Paperback

DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER Perma Books Paperback

CASINO ROYALE
Popular Library Books No. 660
April 1955
Published as You Asked For It

LIVE AND LET DIE
Perma Books M-3048
June 1956
Cover art by James Meese

MOONRAKER
Perma Books M-3070
December 1956
 Cover art by Lou Marchetti
Published as Too Hot To Handle

DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER
Perma Books M-3084
November 1957
Cover art by William Rose

US Signet Paperbacks – Cover art by Barye Phillips

FROM RUSSIA, WITH LOVE Signet Paperback

DOCTOR NO Signet Paperback

LIVE AND LET DIE Signet Paperback

CASINO ROYALE Signet Paperback

FROM RUSSIA, WITH LOVE
Signet Books S1563
September 1958

DOCTOR NO
Signet Books S1670
June 1959

LIVE AND LET DIE
Signet Books S1723
October 1959

CASINO ROYALE
Signet Books S1761
February 1960

GOLDFINGER Signet Paperback

MOONRAKER Signet Paperback

FOR YOUR EYES ONLY Signet Paperback

FOR YOUR EYES ONYL Signet Paperback REAR COVER

GOLDFINGER
Signet Books S1822
June 1960

MOONRAKER
Signet Books S1850
October 1960

FOR YOUR EYES ONLY
Signet Books S1948
June 1961

 

Signet Books (the paperback imprint of the New American Library) issued Ian Fleming's novels starting with the first US paperback of FROM RUSSIA, WITH LOVE in September 1958, followed by DOCTOR NO in June 1959. The company then acquired the rights to the first four James Bond novels, and re-issued LIVE AND LET DIE in October 1959 and CASINO ROYALE (under its original title) in February 1960. The first US paperback edition of GOLDFINGER was published in June 1960, with MOONRAKER added to the range four months later. This also marked the first time Ian Fleming's third novel was published in the USA under its original title. All of the paperbacks had cover artwork painted by Barye Phillips (1924–1969), and the last four covers state that the novel was a James Bond Thriller by the author of DOCTOR NO, as this was the most well-known title in the USA at the time. In June 1961 the FOR YOUR EYES ONLY anthology made its American debut in paperback, also featuring a painted cover by Barye Phillips.

US Signet Paperbacks

DIAMONDS RE FOREVER Signet Paperback FROM RUSSIA, WITH LOVE Signet Paperback DOCTOR NO Signet Paperback CASINO ROYALE Signet Paperback

DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER
Signet Books D2029
November 1961
Cover art by Barye Phillips

FROM RUSSIA, WITH LOVE
Signet Books D2030
November 1961
Cover art by Barye Phillips

DOCTOR NO
Signet Books D2036
December 1961
Cover art by Barye Phillips

CASINO ROYALE
Signet Books D1997
January 1962
Cover art by Barye Phillips

LIVE AND LET DIE Signet Paperback

GOLDFINGER Signet Paperback

MOONRAKER Signet Paperback

THUNDERBALL Signet Paperback

LIVE AND LET DIE
Signet Books D2051
February 1962
Cover art by Barye Phillips

GOLDFINGER
Signet Books D2052
March 1962
Cover art by Barye Phillips

MOONRAKER
Signet Books D2053
April 1962
Cover art by Barye Phillips

THUNDERBALL
Signet Books D2126
May 1962
Cover art by Barye Phillips

FOR YOUR EYES ONLY Signet Paperback

THE SPY WHO LOVED ME Signet Paperback

ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE Signet Paperback

YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE Signet Paperback

FOR YOUR EYES ONLY
Signet Books D2054
June 1962
Cover art by Barye Phillips

THE SPY WHO LOVED ME
Signet Books D2280
May 1963
Cover art by Barye Phillips

ON HER MAJESTY'S
SECRET SERVICE
Signet Books D2509
August 1964
Cover design by Paul Bacon

YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE
Signet Books P2712
22nd July 1965
Cover design by Paul Bacon

THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN Signet Paperback

OCTOPUSSY Signet Paperback

THE COMPLETE IAN FLEMING Signet PaperbackS BOX SET

THE MAN WITH
THE GOLDEN GUN
Signet Books P2735
July 1966
Cover art by Barye Phillips
OCTOPUSSY
Signet Books P3200
July 1967
Cover photograph by Dan Wynn
BOX SET
Signet Books
The Amazing James Bond
1963
Containing 10 novels
BOX SET
Signet Books
The Complete Ian Fleming
1965
Containing 11 novels

CASINO ROYALE Signet Paperback reprint THE SPY WHO LOVED ME Signet Paperback reprint

ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE Signet Paperback reprint

BOX SET
Signet Books
The Complete James Bond
1965 Containing 12 novels
1966 Containing 13 novels
CASINO ROYALE was also issued with a gold medallion label advertising the 1967 film. Later reprints of the Signet James Bond paperbacks had a new serial number and featured a ‘007’ logo and page-turning motif in the top left-hand corner. Now priced at 60c the later editions also removed any reference that this was the first time the novel was published in paperback.

In November 1961 Signet Books then issued DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER in paperback, four years after the Perma Books edition. The new cover was again painted by Barye Phillips and the original artwork later presented to Ian Fleming whose widow Ann in turn gave it to their former employees Mr. and Mrs. Beckett as a retirement gift in 1974. FROM RUSSIA, WITH LOVE was also published in November 1961, and later reprinted as a film tie-in paperback in 1963-64. DOCTOR NO followed in December 1961, and later had an overprinted flash to tie in with the first James Bond film when reprinted in late 1962. A black-and-white still of Sean Connery and Ursula Andress from the film appeared on the revised back cover. CASINO ROYALE, LIVE AND LET DIE, GOLDFINGER and MOONRAKER then followed at monthly intervals in 1962.

THUNDERBALL made its US paperback debut in May 1962, followed by THE SPY WHO LOVED ME a year later. The first US paperback edition of ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE was published by Signet in August 1964, and retained its simple golden gryphon motif cover designed by Paul Bacon, that had appeared on the dust jacket of the hardback edition published by Signet's parent company in September 1963. ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE was the first hardback published by the New American Library, and remained on the US best-seller list for six-months. The paperback edition broke the style of the earlier Signet James Bond editions which by now had sold 7-million copies in the USA. Later movie tie-in paperbacks of GOLDFINGER and THUNDERBALL issued by Signet, reverted to the vertical text on the right-hand side of the cover, stating that the novel was ‘A James Bond Thriller’.

ALLIGATOR A J*MES B*ND THRILLER By I*N FL*M*NG

ALLIGATOR A J*MES B*ND THRILLER By I*N FL*M*NG - A Harvard Lampoon Parody first published November 1962, reprinted January 1963.

The Signet paperback style was parodied by the Harvard Lampoon on the cover of their 1962 spoof novel Alligator by I*n Fl*m*ng. The story was actually co-authored by Christopher Cerf and Michael K. Frith, who also painted the Barye Phillips style vignette that featured on the cover. Christopher's father Bennett Cerf, an American publisher and the co-founder of Random House, was interested in bringing out a hardcover edition after Alligator had proved so popular, and later received some glowing reviews in the US press. Anthony Boucher of the New York Times said “Like all first-rate parodies. this is at its best hardly distinguishable from the real thing; comic though it is, it is certainly far closer to satisfactory Fleming than the embarrassing ‘The Spy That Loved Me’ [sic]”. Boucher included Alligator on his list of the best books of 1963. The first printing of 20,000 copies of Alligator were originally given away with the Fall 1962 edition of the Harvard Lampoon magazine. The suggestion of a hardback printing was quashed by Ian Fleming, who was so incensed by the story that he even had it written into his will that Cerf and Frith were prohibited from developing anything further to do with James Bond. The second paperback printing of Alligator in January 1963 was priced at 50c and limited to 100,000 copies, which sold out almost immediately. Alligator has been out-of-print for over half-a-century. However, it was the Harvard Lampoon who had the last laugh, and did publish a second spoof entitled Toadstool (one of the eight titles listed on the rear cover of Alligator) in their 1966 parody of PL*YB*Y magazine. The 19-page novelette sees J*mes B*nd retired from the Secret Service, and now living as a monk called Brother Hilarius in Grimsay Abbey. Accompanied by a psychedelic PLAYBOY-style illustration of B*nd with multi-coloured bunnies, this parody is even harder to find, and now a largely forgotten piece of James Bond's fictional heritage.

It is hard to understand why Fleming took such a dislike to Alligator, as he had happily endorsed the equally spot-on parody Bond Strikes Camp [written by his friend Cyril Connolly (1903-1974)], which was published in the London Magazine in April 1963, and later as a privately printed limited edition of just 50 copies.

YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE Signet Paperback REAR COVER

The US paperback debut of YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE on July 22, 1965 was published simultaneously with the UK export edition from PAN Books. The UK home market paperback was not available until May 1966. The Signet paperback edition was widely reported in the US press as having the largest print-run in publishing history, with a staggering 2,700,007 copies produced, and a further 300,000 printed a few days later. Signet also reissued a box set on July 22, 1965 containing eleven James Bond novels up to and including ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE. Now under the title The Complete Ian Fleming, the box set had previously been issued as The Amazing James Bond in 1963 (excluding OHMSS); and later to include YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE later in 1965, and again in 1966 with THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN added. The last two sets were issued under the title The Complete James Bond. Overall sales of the James Bond novels as Signet paperbacks in the USA had now reached 30-million copies. As the Raymond Hawkey covers had become ubiquitous in the UK, it was the Signet paperbacks that became the most widely-read US editions, being issued at the time when ‘Bondmania’ boosted sales of Fleming's novels worldwide. The Signet paperback cover of YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE, featured a simple stylized illustration of Paul Bacon's artwork of  Dr. Shatterhand in Oriental armour tied to a large hot-air balloon with a superimposed skull, and used in the August 1964 US advertising for the hardback edition. The rear cover of the YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE paperback cross-promoted the hardcover release of THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN, that was published by Signet's parent company the New American Library on August 23, 1965.

Although Signet did publish a new paperback to tie-in with the Columbia Pictures release of Casino Royale (1967), featuring a repainted version of the Robert McGinnis poster artwork, there was no new paperback to support You Only Live Twice, and instead a removable pink arrow-shaped sticker was applied to the cover to announce the new film. Signet returned to a Barye Phillips painted vignette cover for the July 1966 paperback release of THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN, and re-used the photograph of author Ian Fleming by Dan Wynn last seen on the 1965 box set, for the paperback edition of OCTOPUSSY in July 1967. Signet reprinted the James Bond novels in paperback many more times throughout the 1960s, with later editions featuring a ‘007’ logo and page-turning motif in the top left-hand corner.

US Signet Paperbacks – Movie Tie-in editions

DOCTOR NO Signet Paperback movie tie-in edition

FROM RUSSIA, WITH LOVE Signet Paperback movie tie-in edition GOLDFINGER Signet Paperback movie tie-in edition

THUNDERBALL Signet Paperback movie tie-in edition

DOCTOR NO
Signet Books P2036
1962-1964
FROM RUSSIA, WITH LOVE
Signet Books D2030
1963-1964
GOLDFINGER
Signet Books D2052
1964-1965
THUNDERBALL
Signet Books P2734
1965-1966

CASINO ROYALE Signet Paperback movie tie-in edition

YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE Signet Paperback movie tie-in edition ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE Signet Paperback movie tie-in edition THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN Signet Paperback movie tie-in edition
CASINO ROYALE
Signet Books P2724
1967
YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE
Signet Books P2712
1967
ON HER MAJESTY'S
SECRET SERVICE
Signet Books P2732
1969-1970
THE MAN WITH THE
GOLDEN GUN
Signet Books Y6208
1974-1975

Alongside their regular paperbacks, Signet also produced movie tie-in editions of Ian Fleming's novels. GOLDFINGER uses a new illustration of the golden girl, and CASINO ROYALE featured a repainted version of the Robert McGinnis poster artwork (although the UK PAN Paperback retained the original art). In addition to the movie tie-in edition in 1967, the yellow cover Signet paperback of CASINO ROYALE (D1997) which had been in circulation since 1961 also had a gold medallion label applied to the cover with the text ‘NOW AN EXCITING NEW MOTION PICTURE’. Interestingly the Signet THUNDERBALL movie tie-in also used an alternate version of the Robert McGinnis poster artwork showing Bond wearing a diver's mask on his head. This was the only time this art was seen until Graham Rye featured it on the cover of 007 MAGAZINE Issue #48 (December 2005), and again on 007 MAGAZINE Thunderball 50th Anniversary Special (June 2015).

The cover of the Signet movie tie-in paperback for ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE also used an alternate photograph of George Lazenby surrounded by models from the UK photo session, with the girls in slightly different positions to those on the UK PAN paperback edition. Although the movie tie-in editions of DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER and LIVE AND LET DIE were published in paperback by Bantam, it was Signet Books who published THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN in 1974, as they still held the US paperback rights to Ian Fleming's final four James Bond novels at that time. Signet later reprinted the four titles again several times throughout the next two decades until they lost the rights in the early 2000s.

US Signet Paperbacks – later reprints

YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE Signet Paperback reprint

OCTOPUSSY Signet Paperback reprint THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN Signet Paperback reprint

ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE Signet Paperback reprint

YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE
Signet Books W8503
1978
OCTOPUSSY
Signet Books AE1878
1982
THE MAN WITH THE
GOLDEN GUN
Signet Books AE2106
1982
ON HER MAJESTY'S
SECRET SERVICE
Signet Books AE2107
1982

YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE Signet Paperback reprint

OCTOPUSSY Signet Paperback reprint THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN Signet Paperback reprint

 

YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE
Signet Books AE2108
1982
OCTOPUSSY
Signet Books AE5624
1983
THE MAN WITH THE
GOLDEN GUN
Signet Books AE5855
1991
 

Although Signet Books could no longer publish Ian Fleming's James Bond novels from CASINO ROYALE (1953) to THE SPY WHO LOVED ME (1962), they retained the paperback rights to the author's final four titles and continued to issue these sporadically until the late 1990s when the rights were taken over by Penguin Random House. Although not directly linked, it would appear that the final Signet paperback edition of OCTOPUSSY (above) was inspired by the 1983 Roger Moore film, as the cover photograph depicts a girl in Indian costume, when there is no reference to India in any of the short stories that appeared in the anthology.

US Bantam Paperbacks

THE LIFE OF IAN FLEMING Bantam paperback

COLONEL SUN Bantam paperback

CASINO ROYALE Bantam paperback

FROM RUSSIA, WITH LOVE Bantam paperback

The Life of Ian Fleming
By John Pearson
Bantam Books N3480 (1967)
Cover art by James Bama

COLONEL SUN
Bantam Books S4408
May 1969
Cover art by James Bama
CASINO ROYALE
Bantam Books N5907
May 1971
Cover art by James Bama
FROM RUSSIA, WITH LOVE
Bantam Books N6596
May 1971
Cover art by James Bama
DOCTOR NO Bantam paperback DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER Bantam paperback movie tie-in edition GOLDFINGER Bantam paperback

COLONEL SUN Bantam paperback

DOCTOR NO
Bantam Books N5985
July 1971
Cover art by James Bama

DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER
Bantam Books N6997
December 1971
Poster art by Robert McGinnis
GOLDFINGER
Bantam Books N6771
June 1972
Cover art by James Bama
COLONEL SUN
Bantam Books N6961
June 1972
Cover art by James Bama
MOONRAKER Bantam paperback LIVE AND LET DIE Bantam paperback movie tie-in edition

James Bama

MOONRAKER
Bantam Books N5905
March 1973
Cover art by Howard Rogers

LIVE AND LET DIE
Bantam Books Q5890
July 1973
Poster art by Robert McGinnis
James Bama (above) would often use himself as a reference for his paintings, but it was US actor/model Steve Holland (1925-1997) who posed for the legendary Doc Savage series of paperback covers Bama painted for Bantam Books in the 1960s.

Bantam Books (an imprint of the Random House Publishing Group) issued five James Bond novels in paperback starting with the first US publication of COLONEL SUN by Robert Markham (Kingsley Amis) in May 1969. The superb cover artwork was by James Bama (born 1926) who had earlier illustrated the cover for Bantam's 1967 paperback Alias James Bond - The Life of Ian Fleming by John Pearson, turning the author into James Bond himself. James Bama's other foray into James Bond artwork was with the covers of Popular Science Magazine in January 1966, featuring an illustration of Sean Connery and the gadgets from Thunderball (1965); and again on the cover of the June 1967 issue with an illustration of ‘Little Nellie’ from You Only Live Twice. Bantam later issued paperbacks of CASINO ROYALE, FROM RUSSIA, WITH LOVE, DOCTOR NO and GOLDFINGER in 1971/72, and finally a reissue of COLONEL SUN in 1972 using the same artwork as the 1969 paperback but this time in reverse. The artwork on these five paperbacks is often incorrectly attributed to three-time James Bond poster artist Frank C. McCarthy (1924-2002). James Bama had often used US model/actor Steve Holland (1925-1997) as a photo-reference for his paintings; most notably as heroic-adventure character Doc Savage on the legendary series of paperback covers he painted for Bantam Books in the 1960s. It is undoubtedly the square-jawed Steve Holland who also provided the facial reference for the GOLDFINGER cover at least.

MOONRAKER was published by Bantam in March 1973, although its catalogue number pre-dates the earlier novels in the series, suggesting its publication was delayed. The Bantam paperback edition of MOONRAKER stands alone and features cover artwork by Howard Rogers (born 1932), who depicts Bond as a contemporary figure, which is in stark contrast to the more traditional hero illustrated on earlier covers.

Interspersed with these titles Bantam also published movie tie-in paperback editions of DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER and LIVE AND LET DIE both featuring the poster artwork of Robert McGinnis.

US Jove Paperbacks – Cover art by Barnett Plotkin

GOLDFINGER Jove Paperback

FROM RUSSIA, WITH LOVE Jove Paperback DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER Jove Paperback

DOCTOR NO Jove Paperback

GOLDFINGER
Jove Books Y5514
February 1980
FROM RUSSIA, WITH LOVE
Jove Books Y5515
March 1980
DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER
Jove Books Y5516
April 1980
DOCTOR NO
Jove Books Y5517
May 1980

LIVE AND LET DIE Jove Paperback

CASINO ROYALE Jove Paperback FOR YOUR EYES ONLY Jove Paperback

MOONRAKER Jove Paperback

LIVE AND LET DIE
Jove Books Y5518
June 1980
CASINO ROYALE
Jove Books Y5519
July 1980
FOR YOUR EYES ONLY
Jove Books B6074
June 1981
MOONRAKER
Jove Books B6002
July 1981

The early 1980s saw independent publisher Jove Books issue Ian Fleming's first seven novels and collection of short stories with new cover art by Barnett Plotkin (1932-2003) who now depicted James Bond as a more modern figure. Roger Moore's fifth James Bond film For Your Eyes Only (1981) was also released during the period Jove held the US paperback rights, so their edition became the nominal US film tie-in, with the addition of a new strap-line on the cover.


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