A Playboy Special Edition cover feat. Christi Taylor
|Executive Editor||Stacy S. Collins|
|Frequency||2 issues per month|
|Company||Playboy Enterprises, Inc.|
Playboy Special Editions (formerly known as flats, then Newsstand Specials) are a spin-off series of Playboy magazine containing glamour and softcore nude photographs. The initially infrequent and later semi-regular editions ran from 1964 until the publication of the final issues in 2012.
Unlike the monthly magazine, which features a variety of articles, opinion columns, and works of fiction, the only texts found in the Special Editions are captions of the photographs and readers' letters. Two issues are usually published each month. While the magazines often feature former Playmates of the Month, many other models also appear in them.
Early issues, beginning in 1983, featured approximately 100 pages of old reprint and outtake photos of Playmates with no specially commissioned photos. Issues from the early 1990s began to include a number of "one-shot" models purchased in bulk from glamour photographers. By the mid-1990s, Playboy had established a distinct identity for the line by mixing new shots of recent Playmates with new models, some of whom soon became as popular as the Playmates themselves.
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (August 2007)|
Playboy magazine began supplementing its monthly edition in the mid-1960s with irregularly published special editions devoted to, for example, its cartoons or the Playboy Clubs. The first edition, The Best from Playboy in 1964, was nothing like the present-day specials. Its 120 pages contained a sixteen-page Jayne Mansfield pictorial, but was otherwise filled with articles, including the celebrated 1962 interview with Miles Davis. A 1972 Little Annie Fanny special is highly sought after by Harvey Kurtzman collectors.
In the 1970s, perhaps in conjunction with the appearance of Oui, the special editions would feature somewhat more explicit photography or situations than Playboy itself would run at the time. One release, 1976's Noelle, was quite notorious in its day for its racy content.
In 1984, Playboy published the first volume of its flagship Special Edition, Book of Lingerie, which featured 110 pages of photos of Playmates from the last decade (reprints and outtakes, with no specially commissioned photos). The magazine sold extremely well, and a second edition, in 1987, proved the market was there for the Newsstand Specials, as they were formally called at this time, to begin a regular, formal sales cycle. Each Newsstand Special would have a two-month shelf life, with two titles published each month.
The greatly increased demand for new photos to fill the 24 editions published annually—reprints from the early 1970s having little erotic value to readers twenty years later—required Playboy to look further than their own archives to fill the page count. Newsstand Specials of the late 1980s and early 1990s would often feature previously unpublished outtakes from Playmate pictorials, but also a number of "one-shot" models, possibly posing under a pseudonym or unnamed entirely, bought in bulk from glamour photographers. Sometimes these would resurface in other magazines; outtakes from a 1992-93 shoot with a model named Simone Burkhard which first appeared in Playboy's Girls of Summer '93 were published in Perfect 10 some five years later.
By the mid-1990s, Playboy had formalized its model process to help give the Newsstand Specials their own identity. Commissioning regular shoots with Playmates from the last two or three years provided an ongoing source of new photos which increased the models' popularity and won them new fans, but the editions also found new talent popular enough to warrant multiple appearances. Models such as Alley Baggett, Patricia Ford, Tina Martin and Sung Hi Lee rarely or never appeared in the monthly Playboy, but were featured in the Special Editions dozens of times.
By the end of the 1990s, the label Newsstand Special had been phased out in favor of Special Edition, and a host of regular publications had joined Book of Lingerie (renamed simply Lingerie) on the shelves. One edition each of Playmate Review, Nude Playmates and Girlfriends, among others, are published annually. College Girls is published three times a year.
By 2005, the Playmates had actually found themselves completely squeezed out of Lingerie. Its 100th edition was the first to feature no Playmates at all; Playboy has such a bank of available, popular models that it no longer needs the Playmates to sell some of its Special Editions.
Since the October/November 2008 issue of Lingerie, Playboy Special Edition switched its bookbinding process from perfect binding (flat format) to saddle-stitching (stapled format), thereby definitely abandoning the moniker flats. Following negative feedback from readers, perfect binding was restored as from the March/April 2009 issues of Hot Housewives and Sexy Girls Next Door.
The November/December 2012 edition of Playboy's Book of Lingerie is the final issue. The November/December 2012 College Girls issue is the final issue of it. The last special editions to be published were the December 2012 issue of Big Boobs And Hot Buns and Naturals.
There are several long-running series of Special Editions, as well as short series and one-offs.
Playboy Special Editions' longest-running series is Lingerie (formerly known as Book of Lingerie). The first issue was released as Book of Lingerie in 1984. Two further issues were published in 1987 and 1988; a bimonthly series began with the November 1988 issue. The title was changed to Lingerie with the September 2002 issue.
After several one-shots were published, beginning in 1983, an annual series began in 1995. The main series became semiannual in 2000 and several spinoffs also appeared beginning the next year. The spinoffs ended in 2005. Since 2005, the main series has published at least two issues year, without following a fixed schedule .
The 2002 May issue caused some controversy at Baylor University, which has a religious affiliation. Baylor declared that associating with the magazine would be a violation of the school's code of conduct.
The Voluptuous Vixens / Vixens series features models with large breasts. Ten issues of Voluptuous Vixens were published, once or twice per year, beginning in 1998. A bimonthly series, simply titled Vixens, began in 2005 and ran for twelve issues. The original title resumed in 2007, appearing on a thrice-yearly schedule.
Before publishing its Special Edition line, Playboy published a line of squarebound volumes featuring text, photos, and cartoons; some included only content reprinted from the parent magazine; others incorporated original material. Several volumes collected only cartoons from the magazine. A few volumes went through multiple printings, sometimes with replacement covers.