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Notable New     Yorkers
Select     Notable New Yorker

Andrew HeiskellAndrew Heiskell
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a charter, and he is the one who really developed the notion of the book equivalent of a magazine. Selling a series is really putting the book business on a subscription basis, but in terms of series. Book-of-the-month Club does it on a selection basis. Here you sold a series to the subscriber. And I think the first series they created was the world series--countries of the world--and they would prepare a magnificent brochure and test it to see how many people would buy. And then produce the books. And the first test on the world series was wildly successful. I forget how many volumes we put together, but I know it was more then twenty, maybe close to thirty volumes. And then we did nature, and that was very successful. And for years--


This was in the early 1960s.


Yes. For years, the business just grew and grew and grew at a vary rapid rate and contributed handsomely to the profits of the corporation. Then we took it abroad and sold it around the world, and that was--quite a few of those series, not all, but a few of those series were also very successful abroad. So it became--I don't know--a two, three hundred million dollar business.

[end of side one, tape two; beginning of side two]

It peaked because we really had used up most of the “natural subjects”--the most popular subjects, the ones that people really wanted. Later on, the series became more specialized, had a smaller appeal, or at least appealed to a smaller number of people. But the cost grew at the same time. So the business began to fade, at least

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