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!