Civil War

6/17 – A Success to Rival Harry Potter

While sales of the first 7 novels were successful, Irwin Beadle wanted even bigger sales for their forthcoming eighth novel. On September 29, 1860, the following question appeared nine times on the front page of the New York Tribune.

Who is Seth Jones?

And this add appeared in the Kenosha Times (Wisconsin) on September 27, 1860:

Two days later ads appeared which stated:

Seth Jones is from New Hampshire.

 Seth Jones understands the redskins.

 Seth Jones answers a question.

 Seth Jones strikes a trail.

 Seth Jones makes a good roast.

 Seth Jones writes a letter.

 Seth Jones objects to sparking.

 Seth Jones in his element.

 Seth Jones takes an observation.

 Seth Jones can’t express himself.

And finally on October 2, 1860 this ad appeared six times in the New York Tribune:

Seth Jones; or, the Captives of the Frontier. For sale at all the news depots. Ready this morning,”

Seth Jones, Dime novel #8

The marketing campaign was a huge success. One of the Beadle brothers stated in later years that 60,000 copies were sold right away. (Johannsen 1950) The first edition of the Dime Novel “Seth Jones” was of 60,000 copies. (Everett 1864)

Prior to Seth Jones, a sale of 2,000 copies of a book was considered a success. For reference, here are some mid-19 century best sellers with their original number of copies sold:

  • Guy Mannering (1815), Sir Walter Scott: 2,000 copies in its first day. (Karen 2016)
  • Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1850), Harriet Beecher Stowe, 5,000 copies in its first year. (Winship 2007)
Sullivan Press Reproduction of the Dime Novel Seth Jones

We offer this book for sale on our website. Seth Jones