Almost complete set of Left Book Club (LBC) books, 1936-1948, with some additional publications and ephemera. The collection is missing: George Orwell, 'The Road to Wigan Pier', part 1, published as a 'supplementary' book in May 1937; and F. Le Gros Clark and Ida Clark, 'The Adventures of the Little Pig and Other Stories', published as a 'supplementary' book in November 1937.
The Left Book Club was started by the publisher Victor Gollancz in May 1936 "to provide machinery by which books of urgent political importance could be issued at a very low price". The Club's membership grew rapidly, reaching some 57,000 by 1939 along with 1,500 organised study groups. After the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, the Left Book Club limited itself to publishing a single 'Book of the Month' and stopped producing optional Club editions. The LBC closed in 1948.
The LBC editions, in their distinctive orange or red covers, were sold to Club members at a considerably lower rate than the ordinary editions for the general public. 'Ordinary' members received one 'Book of the Month' on the day of publication for a set monthly price (2 shillings and sixpence in 1938), 'B' members received the 'Book of the Month' every other month (Feb, Apr, Jun, Aug, Oct, Dec) for a set monthly price (3 shillings in 1938), 'C' members were required to buy at least four out of twelve of the 'Books of the Month' each year for a set price (3 shillings and sixpence in 1938), and 'Tribune' members could buy at least two of the twelve 'Books of the Month' for a set price (3 shillings and sixpence in 1938). All members (until the outbreak of war in 1939) had the opportunity to buy cheap Club editions of other books and 'Ordinary' and 'B' members also received a copy of the Left Book Club magazine. New members were also able to buy editions of earlier LBC books (when still in print) at the Club price.