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In 1874, Beadle & Adams added the novelty of color to the covers when their New Dime Novels series replaced the flagship title.The New Dime Novels were issued with a dual numbering system on the cover, one continuing the numbering from the first series and the second and more prominent one indicating the number in the current series; for example, the first issue was numbered 1 (322).Adding to the general confusion as to what is or is not a dime novel, many of the series, though similar in design and subject, cost ten to fifteen cents.Beadle & Adams complicated the matter by issuing some titles in the same salmon-colored covers at different prices.Much of the content of dime novels came from story papers, which were weekly, eight-page newspaper-like publications, varying in size from tabloid to full-size newspaper format and usually costing five or six cents.They started in the mid-1850s and were immensely popular, some titles being issued for over fifty years on a weekly schedule.The stories were mostly reprints from the first series.
It sold more than 65,000 copies in the first few months after its publication as a dime novel.
As the popularity of dime novels increased, original stories came to be the norm.
The books were reprinted many times, sometimes with different covers, and the stories were often further reprinted in different series and by different publishers.
The term was used as a title as late as 1940, in the short-lived pulp magazine Western Dime Novels.
Dime novels are the antecedent of today's mass-market paperbacks, comic books, television shows and movies based on dime-novel genres.