The Paperbacks of

Fantasy Publishing Company, Inc




















Hardcover w/ jacket:

The book has dark blue boards with gold lettering on the spine.







Here are scans of eight paperbacks distributed by publisher William L. Crawford and his company, FPCI. There are numerous oddities surrounding these books, but two stand out: Each paperback is wrapped in a dust jacket, and no two of them are exactly the same size. All are larger than "digest size," and some are larger than "trade-size" books.

(Click an image to view the full scan. I had to make two scans of the jackets. I included the spine in each front and back scan. I am also presenting a scan of the front of each paperback cover, with the exception of The Dark Other, which was blank.)

We've looked briefly at publisher William Crawford before HERE, and I've included the back of one of those Fantasy Book magazines below. I chose one of the books that it lists, The Radio Man, by Ralph Milne Farley; and, noting that the cover was different than advertised, I ordered a copy that was listed online as a hardcover first edition. I've included that book at the bottom. A comparison of the hardcover and the paperback is ... interesting.

1)  The hardcover dust jacket cover doesn't match the advertisement, either.

2)  The two books are, again, of slightly different sizes, but the interiors of the books have identical content, page for page, with one exception: There are B&W, pulp-style illustrations in the hardcover only. The backs of the unnumbered illustration pages are blank.

3)  And when I say identical, I mean it. Both state FIRST EDITION on the title verso. Both have the same printing date: 1948. Both list the interior illustrator, O.G. Estes, Jr, even though the paperback has no illustrations at all.

Based on the information Ken Johnson gave about Fantasy Book, as well as what I've seen from a study of these books, I've come to the conclusion that it's not really possible to tell a book by its cover ... at least not in this case. Crawford obviously re-issued these works, possibly several times (over many years) in different formats, without documenting that in the books themselves (though a couple of the jackets do mention that the work was previously issued in hardcover). If he planned on future re-issues, that would explain the paperback dust jackets. As inflation continued, it would be much easier to reprint a jacket (with a new price) than new wrappers (covers).

Another oddity: Crawford moved from Los Angeles to Alhambra (about fifteen miles), and used a sticker to cover the old address with the new. You can see that on a couple of the dust jackets.

There's not a lot of information available on Mr. Crawford. I see him as a man with huge good intentions, but who lacked the financial ability to make those dreams come true in a first-rate manner. He therefore tended to "cut corners" that other professional publishers would never consider.

Still, a look a the people who admired him is telling. He worked directly with Lovecraft and other pioneers in the Science Fiction and Fantasy fields. Andre Norton established the IAFA William L. Crawford Fantasy Award for best first fantasy book by an author.