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paperback rights? I mean, are you beginning to give in like
a lot of publishers?
We gave in long ago. When Bantam started, at the very
beginning, I was outraged by the royalty rates. When the
twenty-five cent paperbacks first became popular, Pocket Books
had a virtual monopoly. They established the rate of a cent
a copy for the first 150,000 copies and a cent and a half
thereafter. In other words, that was four per cent to 150,000
and six per cent thereafter, and Bantam, our own company, began
operations. They followed suit, despite my protests, and
so did Dell, Fawcett, and everybody else who went into the
business. Every time I would bring the subject up at a di-
rectors‘meeting there would be a roar of protest from the
other directors. They'd say, “There goes Cerf yelling again.
Oh, shut up. Let well enough alone.” I kept saying, “Some
day you're going to pay for this, boys. We're not only shortchanging
ourselves, but we're cheating our authors.” At the
time nobody dreamed how successful this whole paperback thing
was going to be. When it began to run up into big, big figures,
the royalty rate began to creep up because of the competition.
It wasn't done because somebody suddenly became noble. It
was done via simple competition. When one paperback house
said, “Well, we'll not only pay you more than the others,
but we'll raise the royalty rates,” they started something they
found difficult to stop.
Now the prize became bigger and bigger; and the Authors
League, very rightly, got into the fight and protested that
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