EVERY publisher dreams of the time when he will he able to produce a new full-length volume for as little as fifty cents. Then he thinks he will attract those millions of readers who to-day would not pay two dollars and a half for Shakespeare, the Bible, and the Decameron all rolled into one. Simon and Schuster have made an earnest endeavor by publishing a new cloth-bound novel, The Outward Room, by Millen Brand, at $1.25. To break even at this price, they were compelled to publish the book in an edition of 140,000 copies. It is my private guess that their next novel by Millen Brand will be restored to the customary $2.50 level.
In July, Modern Age Books, Inc., will begin to publish new books bound in flexible covers and ranging in price from twenty-five to eightyfive cents, run off in editions of 100,000 copies. They contemplate a Pictorial History of the United States, with a text by Professor Hacker of Columbia; The Industrial Spy by Leo Huberman, an interpretation of the recent Senate investigations; Meals on Wheels, seventy menus for easy cooking; and The Red Feather, by Marjorie Fischer, an illustrated book for children.
Can 100,000 copies of such new books be sold? Can the manufacturer, the author, and the bookseller show a working profit?