Part One: The Beginning (1962-1971)

Over one million children joined The Happy Hollisters Book Club between 1962 and 1971—were you one of them? Joining was easy: you (or your parents) simply sent a dime (yes, one thin dime!) to become a member. In exchange, you received a copy of The Happy Hollisters and the Haunted House Mystery, sold in bookstores for a whopping $1.95. The initial volume was yours to keep, even if you canceled your membership immediately. If you didn’t cancel, you continued to experience the joy of reading The Happy Hollisters, receiving one new volume each month for the low cost of $1.00 (plus shipping and handling)—what a swell deal that was!

The Happy Hollisters Book Club was started in March of 1962, by an agreement between publishing powerhouse Nelson Doubleday, Inc., and The Stratemeyer Syndicate, the packager and rights-holder of The Happy Hollisters by Jerry West. At that time, there were 19 books in the series, all written by author and Syndicate partner Andrew Svenson. The Haunted House Mystery was in production at the time of the initial club offering, and both parties agreed that it would be the most logical “first” shipment, although it was officially #21 in the series.

The club was a huge success! More Happy Hollisters books were sold through the book club than through retail stores—nearly 10 million copies were distributed to club members. This explains why used copies are most often Book Club editions, and The Haunted House Mystery remains one of the easiest copies to find “used,” as so many children received it as their introductory club volume.

Kids loved The Happy Hollisters; they stayed up late reading by flashlight, bonded with their favorite characters, and wrote letters to the author by the thousands. Teachers and librarians loved that the action-packed mysteries encouraged kids to turn the page and keep reading. Parents loved the price; ten cents plus a dollar per month was a small price to pay to turn young readers into lifelong readers.

Kids today still love The Happy Hollisters, and we are excited to announce that The Happy Hollisters Book Club is now being brought back to life! A Happy Hollisters Book Club membership makes a great birthday or holiday gift for the young reader in your life. Watch this space for additional information about the original Happy Hollisters Book Club—and more details about the newly relaunched club!



  1. Hello,

    I read the Happy Hollister’s series as a little girl growing up in Omaha, NE. They are Book Club Editions and each one is priced at $1.50. I don’t know how my parents could afford $1.00/month, but I still have them!
    Eventually, I received the two book holders and I still have them too. At 63 I just read H-1 and loved the mystery again. My books are numbered up to 33, but missing 7, 10, 11, 18 & 19. One is titled the “Castle Rock Mystery”, but the number is missing. Thank you for the years of enjoyment and I’ve never been without book since 1962 at the tender age 6.

    • It’s swell that you kept your Book Club Editions and the collectible holders! We’re happy that the books have meant so much to you over the years. Thank you for taking the time to write to us!

  2. Hi!
    I was one of those million kids or so back in the 60’s. My mother believed that one of the best things she could do to help her kids be successful, was to encourage them to read. Being an avid reader from an early age, I remember with great fondness the anticipation of the arrival of each month’s book as the day approached… and yes, I had the date down pat! I would then hole up and read it cover to cover as fast as possible, and yes indeed, reading in bed with a flashlight was a thing! I re-read those books many a time, and they are some of the only things from my childhood that I have kept with me wherever I went over all these years. I think that young reader that wrote in from Hagerstown MD above, hit the nail on the head: ” The Happy Hollisters family makes me feel like I am with them on each and every adventure. I enjoy being a member of the Happy Hollister family.” Yes! I felt the same way back in the 60’s, and I am still happy to think of myself as being one of the very big “Happy Hollister Family” of fans. I am not sure if Mr. Svenson realized what a wonderful and positive effect he had on so many children’s lives back then through his writing, but I hope so. He brought me much enjoyment, and all wrapped up in a wholesome package that helped to not just entertain, but build character. God Bless him!

    • We’re certain that Andrew Svenson would be thrilled to know that his books had a lasting impact on so many young readers and that people have such fond memories of becoming lifelong readers through his books. We’re happy to have you “in the family” of Happy Hollisters fans!

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