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walk out with about $18,000 over it, because he went down
there in person. We had the books ready? we had the caps
ready to send them in. Where the other publishers were just
sending out catalogues, our people would walk in and lay the
books out on the table, and people would come in and see them
and buy them. By the time he left, he'd gotten the bulk of
the money. The other publishers got what was left. Of course,
they very quickly copied us. Doubleday was right on our heels.
But we got the jump, and that was a Louis Miller scoop.
He also started something else that other publishers
copied. It's called automatic distribution. We don't waste
our time in a lot of the small book stores anymore, having
salesmen go in and try to talk buyers into buying books which
they send back if they don't sell anyway, since everything is
on consignment nowadays. They now trust Random House completely.
We send them the books we think they should have. They don't
bother ordering them anymore. Of course, if we took advantage
of that, they'd stop doing it. Even though they don't pay for
the books, they have to pay for shipping them. They don't
want to get a lot of books in that they're not going to sell.
So we're very careful. That was Lou Miller's concept, too--
automatic distribution. It saved us an infinite amount of
trouble, and most of the stores are very grateful to us.
They don't have to take the time--
And we don't try to oversell. We sell them what we think
they can sell.
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