In the 1950s, the duo of Karl Gröning Jr. and Gisela Pferdmenges designed some 350 covers for rororo, German publisher Rowohlt's mass market paperback line. Following American models, rororos were printed on cheap paper and included advertisements, and like their American and British counterparts, they were very successful. The list was international in scope and ranged all brows.

Uilke of uk vintage turned me on to rororos and pointed to a PDF from an exhibit about the designers ( I extracted some of the covers below from that PDF.

From Philip Oltermann's Rowohlt profile on New Books in German:

Originally, RO-RO-RO stood for ‘Rowohlt Rotations Romane’: large-format novels printed on cheap newspaper stock and sold at no more than 50 pfennig apiece. In June 1950 their format shrank, as did the letters in the logo: Rowohlt published the first paperback novels on the German market. They were affordable – mainly because they would contain full-page ads for petrol, cars, perfume or cigarettes – and for many, rororos became the first books they could afford to buy with their pocket money. And yet they weren’t just pulp fiction. The first four rororos were by first-class writers of international renown: Hans Fallada, Graham Greene, Rudyard Kipling and Kurt Tucholsky. Rororo told the young Germany of the post-war generation good stories, but it also taught them something about the world.

The article is full of wonderful bits about Ernest Rowohlt and his authors (Kafka, Musil...Hemingway).

via uk vintage

via uk vintage

via Rauter25

via uk vintage

via uk vintage

via Bianca Schaalburg

above & below via The Book Cover blog


Visit to read more about these books (link in German)

Book covers on 50 Watts