Oscar Dystel, who as head of Bantam Books rescued his company and helped revolutionize the publishing industry by bringing paperback editions of “The Catcher in the Rye,” “Jaws” and other top sellers to mass-market audiences, died Wednesday at his home in Rye, N.Y. He was 101.

His daughter, Jane Dystel, confirmed the death but did not cite a specific cause.

Dystel began his career in magazine publishing and joined Bantam as president in 1954, about a decade after the imprint’s founding. By that time, U.S. publishing houses had perfected the use of printing-press technologies that enabled the quick, cheap and massive production of paperback releases.

For fans of romance novels, detective mysteries, thrillers and even the classics, the paperback offered a lightweight, money-saving alternative to the sturdy but costly hardcover.

Soft covers made their way from grocery aisles to shopping carts, from airport bookstores to travel bags, and from newsstands to nightstands, providing consumers with the pleasures of reading without burdening their bank accounts or back muscles.

As a company, Bantam stood on the brink of failure when Dystel arrived. It was losing half a million dollars a year, he recalled in an interview with The New York Times. He was so confident that he could resuscitate the operation, he said, that he accepted the job on the condition that he would receive a share of the profits he brought in.

Dystel proceeded to run Bantam “like a wizard,” according to the book “The Time of Their Lives: The Golden Age of Great American Publishers, Their Editors and Authors” by Al Silverman.

The year after Dystel took over, Bantam was turning a profit. When he retired in 1980 as chairman of the board, the Times reported, business reached $100 million annually.

The heart of the enterprise, Dystel once said, “was a good book that people enjoyed reading.”

Dystel jump-started Bantam’s revival with the paperback release in 1954 of “Battle Cry” by Leon Uris. Other authors later included Louis L’Amour, James A. Michener, Jacqueline Susann and E.L. Doctorow.