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In 1953, Scottish publishers Collins (q.v.) bought the publishing house of Geoffrey Bles Ltd, which had been founded in 1923. Bles was allowed autonomy, but its list dwindled and stopped altogether in 1974. The most significant event of 1953 was the launch of Fontana Books, the firm's own paperback imprint. Collins had taken a one-quarter share in the Reprint Society's book club on its foundation in 1939, and Pan Books (q.v.), of which Collins owned a one-third share, was established as its independent paperback subsidiary in 1944. Until the early 1950s, Collins had been content to lease paperback rights in their books to Pan and their only rivals, Penguin Books (q.v.). But by 1953, the paperback market was expanding, and it was clear that the house should take advantage of the riches of its backlist. The rights in many books were brought back to Collins as their leases expired.