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Session:         Page of 1029

Q:

Did anything ever occur? Did you ever change the royalty rate?

Cerf:

Not because of me I must say. When I used to start with this every meeting they'd say, “Oh, there goes Bennett again,” half jokingly and half angrily because nobody else wanted to raise that royalty rate. They were getting away with murder.

Then, as the paperback business proliferated and other competitors came into the field, they all were very happy to adopt this same disgraceful royalty rate. Everybody in the field couldn't help but make money at first, but then came one year when so many paperbacks were printed that they all ran into a roadblock and had to destroy millions of copies. I think that they dumped them into Lake Erie. All of the paperback houses had a great setback. Gradually, too, the price was going up. The 25¢ price was no longer feasible. They were afraid to raise it for too long. When they did raise it finally, it made no difference whatsoever. The 25¢ paperback has disappeared entirely. They run up to $2.45, but the majority of them are 50¢, 75¢, 95¢, and $1.25.

But Random did fine until Curtis ran into financial troubles, not because of Grosset and Bantam Books but because of the failure of the Saturday Evening Post and the falling off of the Ladies‘Home Journal and the general lack of competence that suddenly overtook Curtis. They weren't



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