Remembering the Magnum Easy Eyes

Homage to a vintage paperback classics series

Jim Esch
6 min readJan 12, 2024

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An early influence on my love for classic literature was the Magnum Easy Eye paperback series.

Magnum Easy Eye cover art

They were published by Lancer Books, which was founded by Irwin Stein and Walter Zacharius. From 1961 to 1973, Lancer published mostly SciFi and Fantasy novels, but they also published reprints of public domain classic literature in large, easy on the eye type that was 30% larger than a typical paperback.

I probably first encountered these titles myself in the early 1970’s. I would have been 7 to 9 years old. Where I grew up, we had a discount department store called Two Guys just up the road from our house. I remember browsing the racks of Easy Eye Classics. Over the years, I acquired a small batch of them. The books were cheap. Something like 99 cents a pop. The large type somehow made them feel less intimidating for a young reader like myself. They featured interesting cover art. Maybe a little cheesy and of their time to be sure, but nonetheless catchy.

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