Who published these OZ books - Reilly & Britton ?

Reilly & Britton Company, which changed its name to Reilly and Lee in 1919 published 39 of FF(first forty) books. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was first published by the George M. Hill Company. Bobbs-Merrill became the primary publisher after the Hill Company went bankrupt, and remained the main publisher until 1956.

Before chaging its name, Reilly & Britton company publsihed 11 first editions Oz titles. Under its new name, Reilly and Lee continued to publish new Oz books and reprint older titles in the series. Reilly and Lee finally published its own edition of The Wizard of Oz in 1956, when it entered the public domain. In the late 1950s, Reilly and Lee was bought by the Henry Regnery Company, and the Reilly and Lee imprint was used solely on the Oz and other children's books.

It's a little unclear what happened next, but either Regnery changed its name to Contemporary Books (then another Regnery publishing company), or Contemporary Books procured the rights to the Oz books. At any rate, Contemporary, which is now a division of McGraw-Hill, had the publishing rights for a while, but they are no longer publishing Oz books.

In the early 1980s, the state of the Oz books' publishing was rather grim. Reilly and Lee company was no longer in operation, and its successors had quietly dropped the books years earlier. Dover, another publisher, had only reprinted the first two Oz books in handsome paperback editions with the color plates.

Various other editions of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and The Marvelous Land of Oz were available, but the only publisher who had all fourteen of the Oz books by L. Frank Baum available was Del Rey, an imprint known more for science fiction than classic children's fantasy. As a result, many stores filed the books in the sci-fi section, not with other children's books. Del Rey's books didn't have color, and they were small, mass market-sized paperbacks. The rest of the Oz books by other authors weren't available at all, and most of the Baum books that were available were not terribly satisfying.

All that changed in 1985. Books of Wonder, the popular New York City children's bookstore, was looking to enter the publishing field with reprints of classic children's books. Later on, Books of Wonder, on their own, also published some of the books by Ruth Plumly Thompson. Today, Oz books, particularly those titles in public domain, are published by many different publishers.



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