Title data: 187 total pulps.
- Adventure: 14 titles, 7.5%.
- Aviation: 20 titles, 10.7%.
- Boxing: 1 title, 0.5%.
- Detective: 21 titles, 11.2%.
- Fantastica: 2 titles, 1.1%.
- F.B.I. 3 titles, 1.6%.
- General: 10 titles, 5.3%.
- Humor: 5 titles, 2.7%.
- Miscellaneous: 6 titles, 3.2%.
- Mountie: 1 title, 0.5%.
- Romance: 21 titles, 11.2%.
- Saucy: 44 titles, 23.5%.
- Science Fiction: 8 titles, 4.3%.
- Sports: 1 title, 0.5%.
- True Crime: 3 titles, 1.6%.
- Underworld: 7 titles, 3.7%.
- War: 6 titles, 3.2%.
- Western: 25 titles, 13.4%.
Issues data: 1847 total issues.
- Adventure: 159 issues, 8.6%.
- Aviation: 145 issues, 7.85%.
- Boxing: 12 issues, 0.6%.
- Detective: 254 issues, 13.75%.
- Fantastica: 24 issues, 1.3%.
- F.B.I.: 3 issues, 0.2%.
- General: 136 issues, 7.4%.
- Humor: 59 issues, 3.2%.
- Miscellaneous: 39 issues, 2.1%.
- Mountie: 12 issues, 0.6%.
- Romance: 270 issues, 14.6%.
- Saucy: 359 issues, 19.4%.
- Science Fiction: 49 issues, 2.65%.
- Sports: 24 issues, 1.3%.
- True Crime: 23 issues, 1.2%.
- Underworld: 42 issues, 2.3%.
- War: 52 issues, 2.8%.
- Western: 317 issues, 17.2%.
- Saucy: 23.5% of titles, 19.4% of issues.
- Western: 13.4% of titles, 17.2% of issues.
- Romance: 11.2% of titles, 14.6% of issues.
- Detective: 11.2% of titles, 13.75% of issues.
- Adventure: 7.5% of titles, 8.6% of issues.
- Aviation: 10.7% of titles, 7.85% of issues.
- General: 5.3% of titles, 7.4% of issues.
- Humor: 2.7% of titles, 3.2% of issues.
- War: 3.2% of titles, 2.8% of issues.
- Science Fiction: 4.3% of titles, 2.65% of issues.
- Underworld: 3.7% of titles, 2.3% of issues.
- Miscellaneous: 3.2% of titles, 2.1% of issues.
- Fantastica: 1.1% of titles, 1.3% of issues.
- Sports: 0.5% of titles, 1.3% of issues.
- True Crime: 1.6% of titles, 1.2% of issues.
- Boxing: 0.5% of titles, 0.6% of issues.
- Mountie: 0.5% of titles, 0.6% of issues.
- F.B.I.: 1.6% of titles, 0.2% of issues.
Conclusions: And so we come to the end of the Pulp Market Share posts. I'll still be compiling this data, but I'm saving 1931-1955 for the book, which is tentatively scheduled for the end of 2011. (I'll be plugging it here when the time comes, of course). I hope those of you reading this will consider buying the book, and I trust no one will be irritated with me for not making the entire book available online for free. I've done that with six books so far, but I don't think I'll be doing it any more. (Information may want to be free, but I don't want my work to be. And, frankly, I've done as much as anyone this side of Doctorow to put my work online, all with the expectation that it would somehow help my sales. I'm not sure it has, and it certainly hasn't cut down on the pirating of my work).
Fittingly for my last pulp market share post, the Saucy pulps reign supreme. Perhaps not a surprising development, since the Saucy publishers flooded the market in 1930: 14 new Saucy pulps appeared in 1930, meaning that there were 44 Saucy pulps on the market in 1930, with the next closest genre, Western, only having 25 on the market. If the Saucy publishers were assuming that what people suffering from economic hardships wanted was porn, then that assumption was proven both correct and profitable. 1930 was by no means the worst of the Great Depression--wages held steady, the deflationary spiral hadn't begun, and the worldwide effects of the Depression didn't set in until the end of the year--but consumer spending and investment were both depressed, and the U.S. was hardly a cheerful place. Hence the increased appetite for porn, which the Saucy publishers were happy to cater to.
The growth of the pulp industry slowed in 1930: Growth of 16% 1926-1927, 29% 1927-1928, 40% 1928-1929, but only 11% 1929-1930. Expansion was in Saucy, Westerns (six more titles), Detective (six more titles), and General (four more titles). The other two major genres all went through some contraction--Adventure lost five titles and Romance lost three--and minor genres like War either lost titles or held steady. The industry as a whole will only add four more titles in 1931 before losing 26 in 1932 and going through a two-year valley. The Depression hurts the industry, though some genres more than others, and it will be interesting to see which genres prosper and which wither away. Of course, in 1934 there are 201 pulps published, and 1934-1941 is another period of sizable growth for the pulps, so the effect of the Depression on the industry as a whole only lasts for a few years.
The performance of the Detective pulps is a bit of a puzzler. They aren't performing badly: 11.5% (4th), 11.4% (5th), 13.2% (5th), 11.8% (5th), 11.3% (4th), and now 13.75% (4th). So far, though, they've been consistently out-performed by Romance, Saucy, and Western, even though the late 1920s were the era of Capone and Chicago crime, and even one of the popular stereotypes of the pulps is that they were dominated by Detective/Mystery stories. I suspect that, for all my twitting of parvenu science fiction fans for their mistaken notions of the pulps and science fiction's place in them, I have committed a similar mistake and been influenced by mystery fans and their (apparently) mistaken notions of the pulps and mystery and detective fiction's place in them. I anticipate this changing in the 1930s--but I could be wrong about that, as well.
Interestingly, 1930 sees the debut of three pulps--Confessions of a Federal Dick, Secret Service Detective Stories, and Secrets of the Secret Service--which are the first in the "F.B.I." category. None of these three pulps lasted more than a single issue, and in fact Confessions of a Federal Dick was simply Secrets of the Secret Service retitled, but they were the precursors to the wave of F.B.I. pulps of the mid-1930s, and perhaps were trial balloons floated by publishers to see if what the public really wanted wasn't detective and mystery stories but stories about heroic Feds capturing nasty criminals.
It didn't. Nor was the public quite sated with Underworld pulps, either. I had read the Underworld genre was in mid-decline in 1930, but you can't tell that from the number of pulps (up two from 1929, to seven) or its market share (up from 1.8% to 2.3%--small but not insignificant), and the new Underworld pulps don't go away for a couple of years. So perhaps what the public really wanted wasn't stories about successful cops, but stories about successful criminals.
As part of the rise in Underworld pulps, Gun Molls made its debut in 1930. Gun Molls (a "gun moll" is a female shootist; Wiki entry here) is one of more enjoyable pulps of this era. It's not quite on the level of Scarlet Adventuress, but it's close, with fun characters like Perry Paul's "The Madame," who is
the mystery moll feared and respected by both police and underworld because she could case a job so tight that nothing could break it, because she could spot dip, dick or peterman whatever handicap he liked and beat him at his own game; and because she was a straight shooter in a town where even the calendar was suspected of being fixed.
Gun Moll is part of the evolving effort of the pulp industry to feature stronger, more active female characters, this time in one of the new, hot genres. It's also, I think, another effort, similar to 1929's Love and War Stories, to get women readers to buy pulps in a genre they wouldn't usually buy. A number of gun molls appeared in other Underworld pulps of this era, like Gangland Stories and Gangster Stories, so while it may not have been a premeditated action on the part of the publishers it was a widespread effort. Gun Moll lasted for three years and 19 issues, so one would have to say that the effort was a qualified success.