Horwitz Publications, Pulp Fiction and the Rise of the Australian Paperback

This is the first book-length study of Sydney-based Horwitz Publications, the largest and most dynamic Australian pulp publisher to emerge after World War II. Although best known for its cheaply produced, sometimes luridly packaged, softcover books, Horwitz Publications played a far larger role in mainstream Australian publishing than has been so far recognised, particularly in relation to the expansion of the paperback from the late 1950s onwards.

Horwitz Publications. Pulp Fiction and the Australian Paperback examines the authorship, production, marketing and distribution of Horwitz pulp paperbacks. It includes ground-breaking material on the conditions of creative labour: the writers, artists and editors involved in the production of Horwitz pulp. The book also explores how Horwitz pulp paperbacks acted as a local conduit for the global modern: the ideas, sensations, fascinations, technologies and people that came crashing into the Australian consciousness in the 1950s and 1960s.

The book is currently priced for institutions, but a paperback will be available at some point in the future. More details are available at this link.

Here’s what people are saying about the book.

This fascinating and meticulously researched book tells a compelling story about the most successful independent Australian publisher, Horwitz, in the mid-20th century. Nette argues that Horwitz impacted the Australian book industry and Australian reading practices by its innovative adoption of merchandising practices and its ability to tread the fine line between feeding readers the salacious and sensationalist fare they wanted while keeping the censors at bay. This is a valuable and immensely readable story about the Americanisation of Australian popular fiction in the mid-twentieth century and the Australianisation of American genres at the same time.

Hsu-Ming Teo, Associate Professor and Head of Department, Department of Media, Communications, Creative Arts, Language and Literature, Macquarie University

This book is interdisciplinary, combining analysis of texts and images; archival correspondence, and business records; press coverage of the publishing industry; personal interviews with editors, artists, and writers; attention to customs, regulations, and censorship that illuminate the intersections of the marketplace and the state. Nette is a great storyteller, attending to texts, books as artifacts, production, and marketing in narrating the cultural history of paperbacks in Australia. He makes a major contribution to the international study of pulp paperbacks by investigating how the particular economic and political circumstances of Australia shaped the market.

Erin Smith, Professor of American Studies, The University of Texas at Dallas.

Horwitz Publications is an effective popularizer of Australian literature. It negotiates the circuit of modern publishing—production, distribution, and reception—in a way that shaped the Australian book market itself.
The topic of study and Nette’s style of writing would appeal to many general readers, including fan cultures built up around (Australian) pulp fiction and librarians and archivists who are invested
in studying popular literature.

Kinohi Nishikawa, Associate Professor of English and African American Studies, Princeton University, New Jersey.