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Bennett CerfBennett Cerf
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Forsyte Saga, although I think that first edition was over 25,000 copies. This was how popular these “firsts” became.


Did you buy any?


Oh, yes. I've got some upstairs. Oh, I was in on this craze. And press books I loved--these beautifully printed books. Now, of all the press books, the ones that were becoming the most famous were books of the Nonesuch Press, published in England by Francis Meynell of the famous literary Meynell family. Vera Mendel was his wife. These Nonesuch Press books were so enormously popular that every time a new one came out there would be ten times as many orders as there would be books, and since they sent a very small number of them to America, the prices here sky-rocketed. If it was a book that came out at $25, a few days later people were bidding $75 for a copy. You just couldn't get them, and they were beautiful, beautiful books. Donald Klopfer and I were among the bidders. We loved them.

I was then going to Europe for my second trip. I said to Donald, “While I'm there I'm going to try to get the agency for the Nonesuch Press for America.” These books were just sent over to a few bookstores, and, as I say, they didn't need an agent because the demand was 25 times the supply. But I said, “If we can't get the agency, at least we may each get a copy of each book for ourselves.

So I went over to England the second time. This was the beginning of 1927. I hadn't been there for two years.

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