Letter from Alfred A. Knopf Inc to Leonard Woolf (31/01/1931)



[[MS 2750/153/18]]




[pre-printed letterhead] [Logo of Borzoi Books] ALFRED A. KNOPF, Inc.  New York  From R. W. Postgate, European Representative  4 Elm Close  London N W 4  Please send Books and Parcels to 37 Bedford Square, W.C.1


Leonard Woolf, Esq., 
The Hogarth Press, 
52, Tavistock Square, 
W. C. 1.


31st January, 1931.


Dear Mr. Woolf,


The trouble about the rise of 15% lies in the figures of American production costs, which are of course, higher than over here, and in the fact that the American bookseller has established a claim to a higher percentage reduction from the publisher than he receives over here.  We can make a profit on 15%, but only if we are able to have a run of something like 10,000 copies at the beginning - that is to say, if the author's market is established.  If we have to print in <driblets>, <15%> to the author just wipes out our profit.  Ten per cent we can do.  Now, Hampson may be a great success, but at the best he is an experiment.  I don't know exactly what we shall print, but I am sure it will have to be small.


[a large handwritten tick covers the above paragraph]


Some day, Hampson, I hope will be a big seller.  But if this is to be so, it will have to be partly our doing.  It is really to his interest to let us have a chance and not press too hard at the beginning.


Yours sincerely, | RW Postgate [signature] | R. W. Postgate

Source: MS 2750/153/18

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Letter from Alfred A. Knopf Inc to Leonard Woolf (31/01/1931)


University of Reading, Special Collections

R. W. Postgate writes to explain the problem with 15% royalties, explaining they will not be able to make a profit on a small print run. He refers to John Hampson as an experiment, and that they should not be pressed too hard at the start.


Typescript letter signed by Postgate