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Bennett CerfBennett Cerf
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and Victor Weybright began pushing Ian Ballantine aside. They began making deals without him. Ian Ballantine came to Donald and me because he wanted to start his own paperback house and he wanted us to finance it. Well, we didn't have enough money for this. Random House was growing very fast, and we needed all of the money that we had. We had pulled ourselves up by our bootstraps. We never put a nickel into Random House after that original Modern Library purchase. Everything that was built up was built up with our own profits. We knew that even then to start a rival to Pocketbooks would take at least a million dollars and we didn't have it.

So I took Ian down to Grosset, and we persuaded Grosset and Dunlap to start a paperback house.


And everybody else agreed?


It took a lot of doing. Charlie Scribner was particularly much opposed to it. He wanted no part of a paperback operation. I must say that Robert DeGraff and Dick Simon did all they could to dissuade us, to tell us what all of the hazards were. It was when Bob DeGraff, who was a silly man in some ways, came down as a “friend” to give us a talk about why we should not go into the business that we figured “if he's this worried, this must be a damned good business.” This is what almost convinced Charles Scribner.

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