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New American Library (aka NAL) began publishing paperbacks in the 1940s. After Allan Lane began his Penguin imprint in the UK in 1935, he launched an American branch, Penguin Books, Inc. (PBI), in 1945, hiring Kurt Enoch and Victor Weybright to manage the American division.
In 1948, Enoch and Weybright branched off from Penguin to establish their New American Library of World Literature, Inc. Weybright headed the company as Chairman and Editor-in-Chief (1945-1947), while Enoch served as President and Chief Executive Officer (1945-1947).
With its two leading imprints, Signet and Mentor, NAL authors included Erskine Caldwell, William Faulkner, Ian Fleming, James Jones, D.H. Lawrence, Mickey Spillane and John Steinbeck. The company quickly built a huge readership for inexpensive popular fiction, circulating over three million copies of James Jones's From Here to Eternity in its first year of publication.
Ownership has changed several times. The Times Mirror Company of Los Angeles bought NAL in 1960. Odyssey Partners and Ira J. Hechler purchased NAL from Times Mirror for more than $50 million in 1983. In 1987, NAL was acquired by the Penguin Publishing Company, its original parent company. Today, the NAL imprints -- Signet, Onyx, Signet Classics and Roc -- publish over 400 titles each year, including the MechWarrior: Dark Age series.