Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The JOVE paperbacks

Continuing our look back at the Ian Fleming paperbacks, here is an American series that divides fans. These eight paperbacks from Jove look like they belong to the 1970s, but were actually released in 1980-81. (Jove's first Bond book had been the Christopher Wood novelization of James Bond and Moonraker in 1979.)

At the time, I was not a fan. The artwork by Barnett Plotkin looked dated even back then, and the cover of Goldfinger (the first book released in February 1980) looked like it belonged on a Danielle Steel novel. But over the years I've come to like these covers and this series as a representative of the times. I also like how each cover carries a nice individual tag line -- "James Bond Takes on The Bomb." Nice.

Of this series, Live and Let Die is a tricky one to find. For Your Eyes Only was released with a cover blurb touting what was then the latest Bond film, For Your Eyes Only starring Roger Moore. I'm not sure if there was ever a version published without the blurb. Moonraker was the last book released in July 1981.

In 2008 the Royal Mail issued commemorative James Bond stamps, and used several of these covers as artwork. Barnett Plotkin's original art can be purchased as limited edition prints at James Bond Illustrations.

Jove U.S. paperback publication order:

Goldfinger - February 1980
From Russia With Love - March 1980
Diamonds Are Forever - April 1980
Dr. No - May 1980
Live And Let Die - June 1980
Casino Royale - July 1980
For Your Eyes Only - June 1981
Moonraker - July 1981


  1. Now these are horrible. Too 80's, too american, (too Hart to Hart) Ughh

  2. I have some of these. I always thought the depiction of Bond found here bore a striking resemblance to then Buck Rogers actor Gil Gerard!

  3. Good move John, get these nasty Jove things over and done with. :)

    So vulgar, so American. If one knew nothing of Bond, or of the axiom of books and covers and judging the latter by the former, one could only assume that terrible, terrible secrets laid within.

    And yet, I cannot look away.

  4. Keep 'em coming, John; I love this series! (Series of posts, that is, not this particular series of covers.) Like you, I used to think these covers were terrible--though they weren't contemporary when I was discovering them in used bookstores. I always assumed they were from the 70s. It's chilling to be reminded they're actually the early 80s! Anyway, I still think they're terrible, but like Luke I can't look away. After some Plotkin artwork was inexplicably included in the Ian Fleming stamps, I came to appreciate these a lot more as the really cheesy time capsules they are. So bad, yes, ugly, yes... but I like 'em for it.

    And like the other commentors noted, it's impossible to dismiss their American-ness. Who the heck is that Bond??? Gil Gerard? Robert Mitchum? George Hamilton? I think you hit the nail on the head, Mark, with Hart to Hart! What a terrible era.

    And, John, now you've got me wondering if I actually have that LALD or not. Tricky to find? It looks kind of familiar, but I'm not sure. And that part of my collection is all the way across the country back at my parents' house in Connecticut, so I can't check... which is very frustrating!

  5. Golfinger is $1.95. For Your Eyes Only $2.25. What's that in today's money? About $6? Even allowing for inflation, paperbacks really were cheap back in the day, which they should be. We die hards aside, Bond PBs should cheap, mass produced, mass purchased, read it once on the plane or at the beach then lend it to a friend fare.

    Cracked spine, bent cover, dog-eared pages, smelly, yellowing paper, order form on the back page you can send in to buy other Bond / Spy PBs for 75p: That's how I like my Bond books. :)

  6. As an American who was first introduced to James Bond through the movies in the 70's (The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker on the big screen as well as the earlier films on ABC), these were the editions of the novels I first read in the early 80's. My father always talked about reading the books growing up in the 60's and got me interested in them so I first read these when these editions came out when I was around ten years old. I now know how Americanized the covers were and that they bore little resemblance to the characters on the page, but nevertheless these editions hold a special place in my heart as my firsts.

  7. I'm see James Brolin myself on the covers to DAF, FRWL, and DN.

  8. $356 for a print? The originals are probably cheaper.


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