May 27, 2022

Columbia University Libraries Acquires Ballantine Books Archive

From Columbia University Libraries:

Columbia University’s Rare Book & Manuscript Library is pleased to announce Betty Ballantine’s gift of a collection of books and papers relating the work of her late husband Ian and her in their long and distinguished careers in publishing.

The gift includes a nearly complete run of Penguin titles in pristine condition, along with a full set of Ballantine and Bantam paperbacks, in equally fine condition, as well as an archive of the Ballantine’s work as an independent publishing team after the sale of their company to Random House.

Ballantine Books revolutionized the paperback industry, sparking a new mass market in publishing. They were one of the earliest publishers of science fiction paperbacks; they published the first authorized paperback editions of J.R.R. Tolkien’s books in the ’60s.

The Ballantine’s sold their business to Random House in 1973 but continued as independent agents, editors, and publishers for another twenty years.

The gift of books and archives strengthens the Rare Book & Manuscript Library’s considerable resource collection in the areas of publishing and book history.  There are few repositories in North America with comparable collections of publisher holdings.

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.



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