Mr. Ballpoint "Pen Wars" Novel Now in Paperback

October 16, 2015 (PRLEAP.COM) Business News
October 16, 2015 - LaPuerta Books and Media announces the trade paperback release of the humorous historical fiction novel Mr. Ballpoint by Gerald Everett Jones. Particularly popular with young-adult readers, the book has been available in hardcover and ebook since July of 2014.

Mr. Ballpoint tells the mostly true and yet implausible story of the marketing of the first ballpoint pens in the United States during the Christmas shopping season of 1945. Pen promoter Milton Reynolds' new product was the iPhone sensation of its day. When it went on sale at Gimbels' department store in Manhattan, it triggered the biggest single-day shopping riot in the nation's history mainly because in those postwar months there were virtually no other personal luxury gifts available. The Reynolds International Pen Company made $5 million in eight weeks that holiday season. Thereafter, increasing competition from established companies such as Eversharp triggered several years of the "Pen Wars." An exuberant entrepreneur who had already made and lost several fortunes, Reynolds bragged that he "stole it fair and square."

Jones's fictional take centers on two real-life characters the irrepressible huckster Milton Reynolds and his mild-mannered son Jim, an engineering graduate fresh out of Stanford. In what Jones calls the "engine of comedy" of the story, the chronically overpromising father keeps dragging his shy son into one outrageous sales scheme after another.

Jones explains, "It's a story about testosterone and how-things-work. The surprising revelation may be that Milt's bizarre, madcap, and often questionable schemes actually happened much as I have described them. As to his character or his actions, there was no need to invent or exaggerate."

Although written for general audiences, the book's success with young-adult readers is hardly surprising. Young men and women both can identify with ego clashes and differences of opinion with their fathers. And in many ways, this is the ideal book-report assignment. Students get a good look at postwar Americana, wrapped in humor, along with an object lesson in no-holds-barred capitalism and entrepreneurship.

Teachers and librarians apparently agree. Deborah Vaden, manager of libraries for the city of Irving, Texas describes the book as, "Forgotten history brought to life. If you ever wanted to know how to play the game of life and have a blast doing it, read Mr. Ballpoint. Perfect for our library and book clubs." Magdalena Ball, host of The Compulsive Reader book blog, says, "Gerald Everett Jones certainly knows how to tell a story. Engaging, funny, and full of the cross-genre capability that marks all of Jones's novels, Mr. Ballpoint will surprise and delight readers of all ages."

Mr. Ballpoint was author Gerald Everett Jones's eighth book for LaPuerta. His first was the tongue-in-cheek business title How to Lie with Charts. He is also the author of the "boychik-lit" series of Rollo Hemphill Misadventures, including My Inflatable Friend, Rubber Babes, and Farnsworth's Revenge, as well as the adult melodrama Christmas Karma. His most recent novel was Bonfire of the Vanderbilts, historical fiction based on an art scandal in 1892.

Mr. Ballpoint will be available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and booksellers worldwide. Bookstores may order at standard discount from Ingram and libraries from Baker & Taylor.

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LaPuerta Books and Media