Norman Leys Esq
I was in bed with a temperature when I wrote to you yesterday and I daresay you will again say that I am not clear, so I have now got up and will try to make myself absolutely clear.
(1) I am not a liar and when I said overpersuade, I meant it. I am inclined and have been inclined all along to think you would be well advised not to reprint. You obviously are anxious to reprint. The longer the discussion proceeds the more disinclined I am to overpersuade you from following your own inclination.
(2) You keep on asking me to do what is impossible. If you [3 illeg. characters crossed out] leave the decision to me, I will take everything into consideration and do what, on the whole, I consider to be best in your interests. If you are going to make the decision yourself, I can give you my opinion and such facts as are available. But I cannot make up your mind for you, and neither I or any one else can tell you even approximately how many copies your book will sell next month. There is practically always a moment with every book published when there is a large and sudden drop in sales. It usually comes within the first six months. It may come at any moment with KENYA, and instead of selling 30 or 40 a week, you will sell about 10 a week, while after another three months, the sales may have dropped to about 10 a month. Of course I cannot say that this will happen or when it will happen--the book may go on selling steadily for another five or six months. If the drop came the week after you have decided to reprint, you might easily in the end have a loss. You told me that it was important that you
shod should not lose. At the moment, if you dont [sic] reprint, you will actually make a little. Obviously it is to our advantage as publishers th that you should reprint, but I have been trying to regard the thing solely from your point of view--with the usual result that you now abuse me. If you had gone to any other publisher, he would have stro strongly advised you to reprint, and you would have thought him a fine fellow and a good man of business.
(3) You have all the data for making up your mind, just as I have
weeks and this day six weeks. I repeat that, if you would like me to make the decision, I will take your interests and inclination into consideration and come to what I consider a reasonable decision. But I cannot make up your mind for you.
(4) Meanwhile it is worth n oting[sic] that I have told Clark that we will reprint as you directed me, and he is preparing to do so.
(5) When I wrote yesterday, my mind was probably not acting properly and I was wrong to say that I could not give you any idea of what a cheap edition would cost. I estimate very roughly that you could print 3000 copies and bind 1000 of a cheap edition for £145 i.e.
£ s d
Reimposing 13 12 6
Machining 41 0 0
Paper 60 0 0
115 0 0
Binding 30 0 0
145 0 0
This is of course a very rough estimate. The first two items are almost certainly accurate, but the other two are guesses, and one might be able to make a fairly big saving on them.
(6) I hope we are not going to quarrel over this. But I think you might believe that I am considering your interests and telling you exactly what I think.