What are Pressbooks?

Pressbooks were sent to movie theater owners to help them promote the film. They have ads in various sizes for theaters to use in their local newspaper and, most importantly, show many of the posters that were created for the film (one-sheet, three-sheet, etc.). Sometimes not a single copy of a poster is known to exist and the only way you can tell what the poster looked like is by looking at a picture of it in the pressbook.  Most also have a synopsis of the film and other information like stories about several of the stars and sometimes a story about the making of the film.  Many pressbooks include unusual ways to promote the film such as having a nurse at the theater in case anyone fainted, vomit bags for queasy patrons, etc.  They often contain info on other promotional items like photos, radio spots and standees that were available to the theater owner, most of which are not currently known. In format, pressbooks are very similar to comic books.  They often have two-color or full-color covers, but almost always have black & white interiors.  Generally, the most important the film, and the older the film, the more elaborate the pressbook (larger size and greater number of pages).  Note that pressbooks often contain single sided pages.  When we list the number of pages in a pressbook, it refers to the number of SIDES of pages that have printing.  If a pressbook has 10 pages with printing on one side each, we say it has 10 pages; if it has 10 pages with printing on both sides each, we say it has 20 pages.  Pressbooks are extremely difficult to find from pre-1960 films and are rapidly becoming more and more desirable, as more collectors learn of them!  Often pressbooks sell for the same or less than a scene lobby card from the same film,  yet they give so much more and are much more difficult to find!