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Bennett CerfBennett Cerf
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When we bought it they were rolling along in pretty good shape.

We ran into trouble with this purchase. It gave us some very unhappy days, not through any fault of Mrs. Singer. What we didn't know was that they were beginning to fall behind the times. We didn't know anything about the elementary textbook business. The series that were doing very well for them, where they had made their biggest profits, were already being displaced, particularly by Harcourt, Brace, and World, who had a literature series, for example, that made the Singer series seem rather out of date. The science series needed revision. It was beginning to erode. We didn't find that out until a couple of years after we owned it. The first couple of years they did wonderfully, but suddenly sales began dropping. When we sent experts up to investigate, we discovered why. In Syracuse, they were in a back water; and, with all the best intentions in the world, Mrs. Singer was getting on in years. Again we come to the point that you need young editors, especially in the textbook business.

That world is changing. There was a day when you'd get out an arithmetic series or a literature series and it would last for fifteen or twenty years. Now in three or four years everything that you do is obsolete because things are changing so fast, particularly in the world of education. Arithmetic was always the same. Now an old arithmetic book is like the old McGuffy readers. They are out of date.

So we've had troubles with Singer. And to make matters worse, we acquired, at this time, a man named Blaisdell who

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