Unusual book collection

The proprietor of Hang Fire Books in Brooklyn found a collection of vintage smut paperback books and discovered that the previous owner had blackened the spines of the books to hide the titles.

I wonder how well that worked for him? If I saw some books on someone's shelf that had black spines, I'd be very curious about them.

200710181159 I recently picked up a large lot of vintage paperback smut and about 2/3 of them had the spines completely blacked out.

Looks like the owner lined them up and hit 'em with the spray can. I guess he didn't want to broadcast his reading taste to the world...like people are going to assume blacked-out mass markets are Remembrance of Thing Past or something.

I've seen a lot of interesting things done to these books. Necklines raised with magic marker, pasties drawn on, 3/4 inch staples through the open edge, it's a shame but the varied attempts at censorship are fascinating.




  1. “it’s a shame but the varied attempts at censorship are fascinating.”

    Just to pedantically get this out there…it is a far far far stretch to assert that private collectors engage in censorship when they modify their own books.

  2. The previous owner might not have marked the spines. Sometimes booksellers who throw out books that don’t sell, disfigure the covers and spines so people who dumpster dive at bookstores can’t resell them….

    Just from that image alone I wish I could have snagged them for my own collection of pulp sleaze books:

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