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S., the lower classes were not "naturally indifferent to science, literature, and the arts: only it must be acknowledged that they cultivate them after their own fashion, and bring to the task their own peculiar qualifications and deficiencies." He found that in aristocratic societies education and interest in literature were confined to a small upper class, and that the literary class would arrive at a "sort of aristocratic jargon, ...
hardly less remote from pure language than was the coarse dialect of the people." According to Tocqueville, due to the heterogeneity of its population, the situation in the U. was different, and people were asking for reading matter.
Dime novels varied in size, even in the first Beadle series, but were mostly about 6.5 by 4.25 inches (16.5 by 10.8 cm), with 100 pages.
The first 28 were published without a cover illustration, in a salmon-colored paper wrapper.
Popular story papers included The Saturday Journal, Young Men of America, Golden Weekly, Golden Hours, Good News, and Happy Days.
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).
The literacy rate increased around the time of the American Civil War, and Beadle's Dime Novels were immediately popular among young, working-class readers.
By the end of the war, numerous competitors, such as George Munro and Robert De Witt, were crowding the field, distinguishing their product only by title and the color of the paper wrappers.
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A woodblock print was added in issue 29, and the first 28 were reprinted with illustrated covers. This series ran for 321 issues and established almost all the conventions of the genre, from the lurid and outlandish story to the melodramatic double titling used throughout the series, which ended in the 1920s.