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As the popularity of dime novels increased, original stories came to be the norm.The books were reprinted many times, sometimes with different covers, and the stories were often further reprinted in different series and by different publishers.The stories were mostly reprints from the first series.Like its predecessor, Beadle's New Dime Novels ran for 321 issues, until 1885.In the modern age, the term dime novel has been used to refer to quickly written, lurid potboilers, usually as a pejorative to describe a sensationalized but superficial literary work.Dime novel became a general term for similar paperbacks produced by various publishers in the early twentieth century.Nonetheless, the pocket-sized sea, Western, railway, circus, gold-digger, and other adventures were an instant success.
The object of authors will be to astonish rather than to please, and to stir the passions more than to charm the taste." Written twenty-five years prior to the emergence of the dimes, his words read like an exact anticipation of their main characteristics.
Much of the content of dime novels came from story papers, which were weekly, eight-page newspaper-like publications, varying in size from tabloid to full-size newspaper format and usually costing five or six cents.
They started in the mid-1850s and were immensely popular, some titles being issued for over fifty years on a weekly schedule.
Adding to the general confusion as to what is or is not a dime novel, many of the series, though similar in design and subject, cost ten to fifteen cents.
Beadle & Adams complicated the matter by issuing some titles in the same salmon-colored covers at different prices.
Beadle & Adams had their own alternate "brands", such as the Frank Starr line.