August 2013 | Nate Pedersen

Barbara Cartland's Pink Collection

Barbara Cartland completists - if there are any out there - can rejoice: the 160 novels she left unpublished on her death in 2000 will soon be released by her estate as the Barbara Cartland Pink Collection. The estate will publish a new title each month, available to readers on a subscription plan or as individual purchases.

Cartland was a famous British gossip columnist, socialite, and - most notably - an enormously prolific romance author.  She wrote 723 novels in her lifetime -- yes, 723 novels -- and sold, by some estimates, over 1 billion copies of her works.  She holds the Guinness Book of World Records for most novels written in a year (23 in 1983), and at any given point was either the top selling author in the world or in contention for that designation.  

All this despite the fact that most people you know don't own a copy of her book.

I wonder if there are any Barbara Cartland collectors out there.  I'd love to just see a photo of all 723 novels together in a library. I'm always fascinated when people collect in a disposable arena.  (And I mean that nicely). Romance novels are often discarded by their owners as they are intended by publishers to be read quickly and then left behind for something new.  It's always interesting when someone invests the time and energy (and money) into collecting these often overlooked areas.

A complete Cartland collection, however, would be very difficult to form now -- titles are quite scarce on the ground.  A search on abebooks for any Cartland titles published between 1922 and 1930 (the first eight years of her career) only produced a single listing from a British bookseller for a lot of four signed copies of her early novels.  The price: just under 2k.

(Image from Wikipedia)