Taking Books to the People, Part 8: ASE Editions

Armed Forces emblemsAtlas Obscura shows ” How Books Designed for Soldiers’ Pockets Changed Book Publishing Forever.”  The American Services Editions (ASE)  or “ASEs—paperbacks specifically designed to fit in a soldier’s pockets and travel with them wherever they went. Between 1943 and 1947, the United States military sent 123 million copies of over 1,000 titles to troops serving overseas. These books improved soldiers’ lives, offering them entertainment and comfort during long deployments. By the time the war ended, they’d also transformed the publishing industry, turning the cheap, lowly paperback into an all-American symbol of democracy and practicality.”

ASE- George Gershwin bio

These books went ashore in Normandy and other battles throughout World War II.  These books were also the forerunners of the paperback book kits the the MWR Libraries of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines still provide to our military today.

When Books Went to WarWhen Books Went to War tells the story of the ASE Editions.  Do you read paperback books?  Did you know that each of the  military branches offers library services to its members?  Join in the conversation and share your paperback experience. Did you know about ASE?


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