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should we go into the book business? Because if you want to go into
the book business, that's a totally different thing. This is just
by-product, and it's been pre-promoted by virtue of having been
published in the magazine.”
And I kept resisting starting the book department--I don't know
why everybody looked at me to start the book department--but I did
resist it quite a long time. I think maybe even Ed may have been--Ed
Thompson--may have been in favor of it. Until finally I said, “Well,
if you guys want a book department, the first thing to do is to get
somebody here who knows something about books, and there is nobody on
our staff that knows anything about the book trade, see. We got to
find ourselves a person.” Well, I thought everybody agreed to it.
And I finally did find somebody. It was Jerry Hardy, who had been
sniffing around, thinking that there was a great'opportunity for
Time, Inc. in the whole book field, and he'd been talking to a lot of
people--practically everybody but me. Anyway, I finally decided
to--I hired Hardy, and I gave him a prescription, which was that in
five years he was to have a volume of sales of 25 million dollars and
a net of five million--which was a pretty ambitious goal, but which
he accepted. And he took on the job. Then I discovered that I had
infuriated Bob Elson, because Bob Elson--who was then general
manager--thought he should have been the book publisher.
General manager of LIFE.
Of LIFE, yes. That he should have been the publisher.
Anyway, Jerry went off and did it and exceeded the--he didn't exceed
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