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Then we decided that we needed a distributor, so we
all went to Philadelphia and sold Curtis Publishing Company
on going in with us. Bantam Books was started, fifty per
cent owned by Grosset and Dunlap, which in turn was owned
by us, and fifty per cent owned by the Curtis Publishing
Company. We had our meetings down at old Independence Square
down in Philadelphia in the board room of the Saturday
Evening Post, which was sort of a dream for me. I started
out, as a kid, selling the Saturday Evening Post in subway
stations. Here I was meeting with the board of directors!
This is a phenomenon in publishing because there are not
too many other corporations, if you will look at it, that
would go in together for something that is in a way competitive.
No. As I say, it all worked out because the principals
respected and trusted each other. There wasn't one man in
this combination who didn't have the full trust of everybody
else. If we had included one or two of the shadier characters
in publishing, there would have been chaos. Or, if we
hadn't been fortunate enough to get a man like John O'Connor
to run it, a man whom we all trusted implicitly...
Well, it went along. It was a huge success. There
was never any doubt about Bantam Books. It began making money
from the day that it started. Then came an unfortunate crisis
involving Ian Ballantine. He was forced out of the business
that he had brought to us. I thought this a shameful procedure,
but the others did not.
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