Dover Publications

Dover Publications

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Dover Publications is an American book publisher founded in 1941 by Hayward Cirker and his wife, Blanche. It publishes primarily reissues, books no longer published by their original publishers. These are often, but not always, books in the public domain
Public domain
Works are in the public domain if the intellectual property rights have expired, if the intellectual property rights are forfeited, or if they are not covered by intellectual property rights at all...

. The original published editions may be scarce or historically significant. Dover republishes these books making them available at a significantly reduced cost.

Classic reprints


Dover is well known for its reprints of classic works of literature, classical sheet music and of public-domain images from the 18th and 19th centuries. Dover also publishes an extensive collection of mathematical, scientific and engineering texts. It often targets its reprints at a niche market such as wood working.

Most Dover reprints are facsimiles by photo process of the originals, retaining the original pagination and typeset, sometimes with a new introduction. Dover will usually add new and more colorful cover art to its paper-bound editions. They retitle some books to make them more in line with modern usage and categorization. For example, the book Woodward's National Architect was retitled A Victorian Housebuilder's Guide.

History


The Cirkers started the business selling remaindered textbooks
Remaindered book
Remaindered books are books that are no longer selling well and whose remaining unsold copies are being liquidated by the publisher at greatly reduced prices...

 by mail. The company published its first book, Tables of Functions with Formulas and Curves, when the German copyright was voided by the United States as a result of World War II. The book was an unexpected success and established the Dover business model of publishing esoteric works at a low price. One of Dover's best sellers was Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein was a German-born theoretical physicist who developed the theory of general relativity, effecting a revolution in physics. For this achievement, Einstein is often regarded as the father of modern physics and one of the most prolific intellects in human history...

's The Principle of Relativity, which Einstein reluctantly agreed to republish despite his concerns that it was outdated.

Dover was influential in transforming the paperback
Paperback
Paperback, softback or softcover describe and refer to a book by the nature of its binding. The covers of such books are usually made of paper or paperboard, and are usually held together with glue rather than stitches or staples...

 book market. In 1951 it issued some of the earliest standard-sized paperbacks, a format that became known as a trade paperback. Since the 1960s, the vast majority of Dover's titles have been paper-bound books of various sizes. Dover paperbacks were renowned for their supreme quality fabrication. They were printed on high quality, non-yellowing paper and the pages were sewn in signatures (a method traditionally used for the best books) unlike most paperbacks which were held together with glue and subject to page drop-out. Current Dover paperbacks are not manufactured to this exemplary standard, presumably due to cost-cutting economic measures.

For a time, Dover also published a catalog of LP
LP album
The LP, or long-playing microgroove record, is a format for phonograph records, an analog sound storage medium. Introduced by Columbia Records in 1948, it was soon adopted as a new standard by the entire record industry...

 phonograph records. Some, such as selected recordings of Schubert's solo and chamber works featuring pianist Friedrich Wührer
Friedrich Wührer
Friedrich Wührer was an Austrian-German pianist and piano pedagogue. He was a close associate and advocate of composer Franz Schmidt, whose music he edited and, in the case of the works for left hand alone, revised for performance with two hands; he was also a champion of the Second Viennese...

, were reissues of earlier monaural releases from other labels. Noteworthy among Dover's original issues was an extensive series documenting pianist Beveridge Webster
Beveridge Webster
Beveridge Webster was an American pianist and educator.Beveridge Webster studied with his father, initially, and in 1921, at age 14, he began five years of study in Europe, first at the American Academy at Fontainebleau, then at the Paris Conservatory with Isidor Philipp and Nadia Boulanger...

 in literature ranging from Beethoven's Hammerklavier sonata to the second piano sonata by Roger Sessions
Roger Sessions
Roger Huntington Sessions was an American composer, critic, and teacher of music.-Life:Sessions was born in Brooklyn, New York, to a family that could trace its roots back to the American revolution. His mother, Ruth Huntington Sessions, was a direct descendent of Samuel Huntington, a signer of...

. Dover's foray into recordings, however, was not as successful as its core business of book republication, and the company eventually abandoned it.

Starting in the 1990s Dover has published a specialized line of low-cost reprints of public domain literature known as "Dover Thrift Edition
Dover Thrift Edition
Dover Thrift Editions are a series of paperback books published by Dover Publications starting in the 1990s. Thrift editions are printed economically and sold to consumers at a low price such as $1.00 to $2.50 in the United States, and £1.99 to £3.50 in the United Kingdom. Longer works are...

s", which are generally priced at US$5 or less. They also have several lines of foreign language books.

Hayward Cirker died in 2000 at the age of 82. In the same year Dover Publications was acquired by Courier Corporation .

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