Advertisements are one of the most noticeable elements of these pamphlet novels. Advertisements for past or upcoming issues of a series, for other series in the Prensa Popular repertoire, and for outside products cover the inside front cover and both sides of the back cover in all 9 of the pamphlet novels.
In examining the 9 novels in the digital libraries and through the cursory observation of the 170 other pamphlet novels in the 3 series that this digital library links to, it seems very common to reserve the front inside cover advertising space for letting readers know about past or upcoming issues, whether for the same series or for another. This appears to be a marketing strategy since these would be the only advertisements that the reader would be almost obligated to see, regardless of whether they finished the novel, since they sit immediately opposite the title page. Interestingly, La Novela Corta will advertise for itself and other daughter series, but the daughter series like La Novela Teatral and La Novela Cómica will not refer back to La Novela Corta. There are however sometimes non-Prensa Popular advertisements on the front inside cover, such as in the case of Corazonadas, which has advertisements for medicine, a bookselling association, mattresses, a photographer, and a trade magazine.
The back inside cover has the most diverse advertisements. While occasionally there are listings of upcoming or past issues of one of the Prensa Popular series, the back inside cover often has advertisements for businesses, beauty products, clothing, and medicines among other things. A standout category is hair products. Some are hair dye, but others are products that promise to be nutritious for hair growth or turn gray hairs back to their original color without the use of dyes. La Flor de Oro is an interesting product because it features in 6 of the novels in the collection but claims different benefits at different times.
The back outside cover generally features a single, full-page advertisement. The most common back cover ad for the 9 novels is for Osram lightbulbs, which Roselyne Mogin-Martin notes as being one of the most important advertisers for La Novela Corta 1.
The outside advertising trends seen even with this small 9 novel sample are reflect of larger trends across Prensa Popular publications. Hygiene products, beauty products, and medicines were the most frequently advertised items in the Prensa Popular series. Interestingly, the intended public of the series may have changed from a lower-class clientele to one of slightly higher means as demonstrated by the progressive inclusion of more luxurious if still practical items in the advertisements. However, the Mogin-Martin admits that it could be the case that these more luxurious items were still with the reach of the middle class at the time 2.
Nevertheless, one thing that the advertisements make clear about the clientele of La Novela Corta is that both men and women read the novels. Advertisements consist of products aimed at both men and women. There are beauty products, housekeeping supplies, and women’s magazines as well as shaving soap, tailors, and motors 3.
In Roselyn Mogin-Martin’s analysis of La Novela Corta, she also identifies five stages of advertising practices for that series:4
Through no. 80, the outside advertisements have a greater importance. There are many of them, and they tend to be located on the inside and outside of the back cover.
In no. 80-190, outside advertisements diminish. She attributes this to a lesser need for advertising profits since the magazine was doing well in its own right.
After no. 190 and through to at least no. 220 (this corresponds from fall 1919 to spring 1920), the outside ads increase once again with quite a number of small advertisements on the back inside and outside covers. Mogin-Martin connects this to possible financial troubles.
After the period of increased advertisements, the outside advertisements decline once again, down to 2-4 outside advertisements overall per issue.
From no. 390 onward there is apparently an almost total lack of outside advertising. It might not have been seen by businesses as an effective space upon which to spend their advertising budgets.