Book Ads in the NYTimes, 1962-1973

I missed it when it ran this summer, but in June Paper Cuts, the Times book blog, posted a slideshow of old book ads from what it called the “Golden Age” of book advertising.

Included are ads for a bunch of heavy hitters like Susan Sontag, Edna O’Brien, Cormac McCarthy, Tom Wolfe, Joan Didion, Toni Morrison, and Donald Barthelme. I’m not sure I’d call it a Golden Age–the books may be impressive, but the ads seem to have thrived then as now on hidebound cliché*. But there’s some good stuff there, and more than a few signs of the time: overt sexism, boomer self-importance, and everybody’s smoking.

Unfortunately a number of the images are poorly reproduced. Seems a shame, for a slideshow, especially one so otherwise intersting. Maybe we should all chip in a few bucks and get Paper Cuts a new scanner.

* A cliché, I know.