Paperback pioneer Betty Ballantine dead at 99

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Betty Ballantine, half of a groundbreaking husband-and-wife publishing team that helped invent the modern paperback and vastly expand the market for science fiction and other genres through such blockbusters as “The Hobbit” and “Fahrenheit 451,” has died.

Ballantine died Tuesday at her home in Bearsville, New York, granddaughter Katharyn Ballantine told The Associated Press. She was 99 and had been in declining health.

Ballantine was just 20 and attending school in England, in 1939, when she met and married 23-year-old Ian Ballantine, an American at the London School of Economics. Using a $500 wedding gift from Betty’s father, the Ballantines started out as importers of Penguin paperbacks from England and founded two enduring imprints: Bantam Books and Ballantine Books, both now part of Penguin Random House.


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