Reader’s Library (Duckworth)

Gerald Duckworth and Co., Ltd. (London, UK)
Series dates: 1910-1927 (Reader’s Library), 1927-1946 (New Readers Library)
Size: 5″ x 7.75″ (Reader’s Library), 4.75″ x 7″ (New Readers Library)


Duckworth’s Reader’s Library starts in 1910 and is published until 1927 when it is redesigned in a scaled-down size with revisions to the list of titles in the series and retitled the New Readers Library. This may have been to differentiate the series from the very popular low-end series the Readers Library published by the Readers Library Publishing Company.

An advertisement in the rear of a copy of August Strindberg’s Plays published by Duckworth in 1913 contains the following list of titles in the then 3-year-old series. The series would eventually reach 40 titles by 1915 and maybe a dozen more by 1927 when it was replaced by the New Readers Library.


Jackets on the Reader’s Library series are minimalist in design and common to the series. This copy of R.B. Cunninghame Graham‘s Hope and other Sketches is undated but was probably issued in the mid-1920s. The spine contains the series name, price (3/6) and publisher. The front of the jacket includes the series name and description. The front flap advertises the works of W.H. Hudson, some of which were in the Reader’s Library series.


Authors in the Reader’s Library series are listed on the jacket back. The back flap advertises titles by Michael Fairless, again, most found in the Reader’s Library series.


The mold damaged cloth binding is of moderate quality at best, with simple black printing on the spine. No indication is made of the series name on the book itself.


The half-title page:


A list of titles by the same author faces the title page. No date is included on this page, nor is there an indication of the series name.


No copyright page is included, instead a dedication faces the table of contents.