Nonetheless, the pocket-sized sea, Western, railway, circus, gold-digger, and other adventures were an instant success.Author Armin Jaemmrich observes that Alexis de Tocqueville's theses in Democracy in America (1835) says that in democratic and socially permeable societies, like that of the U.As the popularity of dime novels increased, original stories came to be the norm.The books were reprinted many times, sometimes with different covers, and the stories were often further reprinted in different series and by different publishers.Small productions will be more common than bulky books ...The object of authors will be to astonish rather than to please, and to stir the passions more than to charm the taste." Written twenty-five years prior to the emergence of the dimes, his words read like an exact anticipation of their main characteristics.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.
The first 28 were published without a cover illustration, in a salmon-colored paper wrapper.
Beadle & Adams had their own alternate "brands", such as the Frank Starr line.
As a whole, the quality of the fiction was derided by highbrow critics, and the term dime novel came to refer to any form of cheap, sensational fiction, rather than the specific format.
The term was used as a title as late as 1940, in the short-lived pulp magazine Western Dime Novels.
Dime novels are the antecedent of today's mass-market paperbacks, comic books, television shows and movies based on dime-novel genres.