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Andrew HeiskellAndrew Heiskell
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Session:         Page of 824

Q:

But when you say “argued,” was it a constructive discussion or not? [laughs] Did you decide things together or you're saying there was a lot of friction?

Heiskell:

There wasn't very much friction. The friction didn't have as much to do with “issues” as it did with what should we be doing with the magazine. Because I could tell in the 1950s that there were signs of ill-health, namely, you had to get more and more subscriptions to make up for a good drop in newsstand. Subscriptions were more costly. The net bottom line on “subs” was much worse than the bottom line on newsstand, unless your returns were very high. And I was constantly, I guess, nagging him about the magazine, and we were all the time talking about, well, should it be more news mag--should it have more news in it? Well, we seemed to have worn out the news angle. Should it have more big acts? Well, the big acts are difficult to pull off, they're expensive, and they tend to dominate the issue. If it's an act that isn't appealing to very many people, than it's going to be a problem however good it is.

But we did go in the direction of the “big act,” and one of the by-products of the big act were the books that we published: The World We Live In, Great Religions--I forget. But out of the magazine we were able to make some books that made some very handsome profits. Then the argument was, “Well, if we're so good at books”--and Roy Larsen was always egging me on about this--“if we're so good at books, why don't we start a book department?” And I would say, “If we can publish books and make this much money without any effort, why



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