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Target Books were a children’s publishing imprint, significant for being the dominant publisher of Doctor Who prose fiction and non-fiction from the 1970s to the early 1990s. They were most famous for their line of novelisations of Doctor Who serials, in part because the novelisations were the principal route by which some fans could experience missing episodes. Technically an imprint, and not an independent publisher, they were owned by several houses. However, the Doctor Who line is most associated with W.H. Allen & Co, who owned Target from 1977–1989, and Virgin Books, who bought them in 1990 and extended and reprinted the line until 1994. In 2018, the Target Books were revived, featuring novelisations of television stories from 2005 and beyond.
Target Books’ Doctor Who output in 1987 matched the pace of new novelisations in 1986. It was also the first year since 1973 in which no novelisations of the current Doctor were published. Instead, the First Doctor was featured in the majority of the adaptations that year. Target also produced the first BBC-sanctioned plans of how to build the TARDIS exterior, along with an all-new collection of comic gags by Tim Quinn and Dicky Howett — The Doctor Who Fun Book.
Target Books’ Doctor Who output in 1988 for the first time offered a new novelisation each month. As had become usual over the last few years, the stories featured a wide range of Doctors. After a year’s absence, the Sixth Doctor returned to the range. Most of The Trial of a Time Lord was published, with the exception of Mindwarp.
Meanwhile the then-current Doctor made his Target debut, alongside releases featuring the First, Second, Third and Fifth Doctors. Midway through the year, Target changed its cover design to give a unified “look” to their line. Accordingly, they switched to the Seventh Doctor‘s televised logo and gave the tops of the covers black framing elements.