Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Dime novel spreadsheets.

What I'd thought would be a relatively quick diversion--putting together spreadsheets of pulp magazine data as an analytical tool--has turned into something of a prolonged ordeal, since simply inputting the data took a while, and I had to ask others to put the data together in table form. And, even worse, after completing the pulps, I decided I had to do the dime novels--'cause, well, if I left it at the pulps the data would be incomplete, right?

So I finished up the dime novels. The data isn't complete, because I'm not sure a complete list of dime novels is possible any more, but this is the best that can be put together at this remove.
Initial observations:
  • Interesting, how long the dime novels lasted. I had the vague sense that the dime novels survived a lot longer than the popular image of them has it, but as late as 1932, well into the pulp era, there were still 11 dime novels. I think we can say with some confidence that, as with the pulps, the "death" of the dime novel was a prolonged thing with significant overlap into the pulp era.
  • Even more interesting to me is a comparison of number of magazines versus duration between the pulps and the dime novels. Many more pulps lasting a much shorter period of time, while the dime novels tended to be fewer in number but have a lot more endurance. 14 dime novels had over 1,000 issues, and look at New York Weekly: almost 3,000 issues, 1858-1915. A smaller market with fewer publishers leads to less overall competition and more monopolization, I guess. Certainly fewer dime novel subgenres than with the pulps.
  • I imagine that the feelings of the dime novel publishers in the 1920s and 1930s was something like the feelings of the Neanderthals when they watched Cro Magnons running around.
  • I thought romance dime novels would be stronger. Conversely, I'm surprised (though I shouldn't be) at the strength of frontier/Western dime novels.
  • My surprise is not that there are relatively few sports dime novels, but that there are as many as there are. The British influence is particularly noticeable here.
  • I suspect an analysis of the war dime novels published around the time of the Spanish-American War would make for interesting reading.
Now that I'm finished with these, I'm starting on European pulps, which may take me a few days to complete.

No comments: