Ballantine Books is a major book publisher located in the United States, founded in 1952 by Ian Ballantine with his wife, Betty Ballantine. It was acquired by Random House in 1973, which in turn was acquired by Bertelsmann AG in 1998 and remains part of that company today. Ballantine's logo is a pair of mirrored letter Bs back to back. The firm's early editors were Stanley Kauffman and Bernard Shir-Cliff.
Following Fawcett Publications' controversial 1950 introduction of Gold Medal paperback originals rather than reprints, Lion Books, Avon and Ace also decided to publish originals. In 1952, Ian Ballantine announced that he would "offer trade publishers a plan for simultaneous publishing of original titles in two editions, a hardcover 'regular' edition for bookstore sale, and a paper-cover, 'newsstand' size, low-priced edition for mass market sale."
When the first Ballantine Book, Cameron Hawley's Executive Suite was published in 1952, the publishing industry saw that the simultaneous hardcover and paperback editions were obvious successes. Houghton Mifflin published the $3.00 hardcover at the same time Ballantine distributed its 35Â¢ paperback. By February 1953, Ballantine had sold 375,000 copies and was preparing to print 100,000 more. Houghton Mifflin sold 22,000 hardback copies in its first printing. Ballantine's sales soon totaled 470,000 copies. Instead of hurting hardback sales as some predicted, the paperback edition instead gave the book more publicity. After the film rights were sold to MGM, Robert Wise directed the 1954 film, nominated for four Academy Awards.