The Smallest Books that Packed the Biggest Bang: Big Little Books

by Lauren Sisselman

052422A-1024x536 The Smallest Books that Packed the Biggest Bang: Big Little BooksThe Big Little Books (later, Better Little Book) series provided entertainment to an audience before the Golden Age of comics had begun and for decades after. Have you ever considered adding them to your collection?

A Little History

In 1932, a new form of inexpensive entertainment was born — the Big Little Book. Whitman Publishing introduced these pocket-sized books to the world, which featured illustrations alongside text. Targeted at children these books featured characters and heroes of the day and only sold for ten cents (only to jump to fifteen cents a few short years later).

lf-97-e1653338285800-227x300 The Smallest Books that Packed the Biggest Bang: Big Little BooksThe first BLB to be published was The Adventures of Dick Tracy. Other popular characters at the time would also see the BLB treatment — Mickey Mouse, Buck Rogers, and Little Orphan Annie, all graced the pages of a BLB at some point.

Their popularity waned once the Golden Age of comics started, but BLBs were still being published. In 1938 the name was changed to Better Little Books, and it wasn’t until the 1970s that BLB ceased publication.

Are They Collectible?

These books have become a unique niche in the comic collecting world with many being just as rare or scarce as some of the rarest and scarcest comics.

Big Little Books are graded similarly to comic books, but currently no third-party grading system grades BLBs. If you’re looking to start a BLB collection of your own, you’re mostly in luck. Many Big Little Books can be found for under $30 at many antique or thrift stores. Your local comic book shop might also get them in from time to time, so it’s always worth asking them. You can also routinely find lots of BLBs on popular auction sites. It is worth noting that many BLBs are not in good shape, and need to be treated with absolute care. lf-98-e1653338797274-300x300 The Smallest Books that Packed the Biggest Bang: Big Little Books

Some BLB’s go for serious money as well. In 2014, a variant copy of Mickey Mouse the Mail Pilot sold for $7,170.

Why did this book go for so much? According to Heritage, there are only three copies of this variant — ” It is the same book as the #717 second edition, but with the story title printed on the front cover and a small black box printed over the existing “No. 717″ on the back cover.” In 2017 another variant copy was sold (possibly the same one), but this time it sold for only $2,151.00.


As with regular comics, the condition of the book will determine the value. There are also a few reference guides that can be found, including The Big Big Little Book Book: An Overstreet Photo-journal Guide, as well as Big Little Books: A Collector’s Reference and Value Guide.

While I have a few BLBs in my own collection, they aren’t worth a ton. But that’s ok! Collecting what you love is the most important thing.

Check out these other collectibles!


Do you have any BLBs in your collection? Tell us about them in the comments below!

AAA-Baltimore-Lauren-Blogger-Footer The Smallest Books that Packed the Biggest Bang: Big Little Books*Any perceived investment advice is that of the freelance blogger and does not reflect advice on behalf of GoCollect.

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EMY May 27, 2022 - 6:32 pm

I remember these from my days trolling book stores in the early 80’s. Thanks for bringing attention to these little gems.

steve May 29, 2022 - 8:23 am

There is a Batman, a Spider-man, a Hulk and a Fantastic 4, that comes in both Hard cover and soft cover, with KIRBY illustrations on every other page!!


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