Century's "Sleaze" Books




    Century 85                Prize Book 55



Prize Book 56           Century 106













Century Publications, of Chicago, IL, put out a relatively short run of books, beginning in 1945 and ending in 1950. In late 1946, they changed formats, switching from digest-sized volumes to the "short" mass market style.

In 1947, they published at least a dozen titles under the "Prize Book" label, clearly stating on the title page of each book that they were Century Publications. The books were paperback-size and featured provocative titles and covers with women who, while sexy, did not illustrate the sexual actions or situations that the other "adults only" publishing houses tried to display on their covers.

It was a strange, sort of in-between genre, and they apparently tried to market the books as something less than "Adults Only," but more than just romance novels. While the cover art was not credited in the majority of the volumes, they all appear to have done by the same artist; and those that do list a cover artist, give Malcolm Smith the honor. In almost every case, the woman is striking a model's pose. Usually, her body is turned at least slightly to best display her physical attributes, while her head is canted or looking back at the artist.

After 1947, the Prize Book label disappeared, and Century continued printing them as part of their own run. The numbers on the Prize Books did NOT correspond to the sequence on the Century books, and I'm not sure how they chose the numbers they used. Century 56, for example, was a digest-sized western, while Prize Book 56 is displayed at left.

The scan of Prize Book 56 is courtesy of Brian Maginnity.