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The trade ought not to forget that representation at the Centennial is both a duty of patriotism and a good stroke of policy. We have serious fears that the representation of the book interest will not be what it should, unless something more is done than there is at present promise of. The days of grace close next Friday. Every trade organization that meets before that time ought to lend a hand in spurring up the trade, and, if individual publishers are behindhand, we advise that space should be applied for by the organizations, to be afterwards allotted to publishers. Should there be a failure at the Centennial, much of the blame must rest upon the directorship, from which it has been almost impossible to obtain any satisfaction, except by printed circulars which did not answer the questions asked. There is general complaint of ill-organization at Philadelphia. But blame must also fall upon the interests themselves. It is the simplest thing in the world to ask for space—see elsewhere—and we trust no publisher will fail to put in an appearance.
The Athtnaum for September 25th has the following monstrous paragraph:
"The recent failure of several large American publishing houses, culminating in the failure of the houses of Lee &. Shepard, Boston, and Lee, Shepard & Dillingham, NewYork—the latter for about $500,000—is said to have caused the downfall of no less than twenty-seven smaller houses in New-York, Washington, Philadelphia, and Boston! It is well known that the Beecher-Tilton trial has ruined several firms * who speculated in sermon-stock,' according to Transatlantic phrase."
Where under the heavens this information came from we can not imagine. It is, of course, entirely false, and we trust English journals will contradict the story at once. No failure, to our knowledge, has followed that of the Lee & Shepard house, and the only other recent failure at all worthy of note is that of J. B. Ford & Co. The latter part of the paragraph •doubtless refers to them, but is even then deliriously and supremely absurd.
A Librarian puts a fair question elsewhere: why the price of books should be practically raised (by the twenty per cent rule) on a falling general market. The prices should be raised to some extent because books have not afforded a living to those who dealt in them, and whom the community did not pay fairly for the service done. On the other hand, advertised prices, raised to meet discounts, are in some instances too high, and a temporary injustice is done in those cases by the reform. This evil will soon begin to right itself, however, by competition on advertised prices, and th«n we trust " Librarian" and other right-minded people will be satisfied.
Since our last, one publisher has followed another in offering the Detroit Board of Education square forty off. While we regret what seems to us a mistake in the long run, it should be said that no agreement is violated, the exceptions providing for this very case. But of course the Detroit retailers, now that the Board will retail at cost, can not keep these books in stock, to sell at a price which is really below the cost to them, and must, because of losing this business, keep less general stock. The. Granger question, presented elsewhere, demands the immediate attention of the Board of Trade.
Mr. Lovering was arrested last week in Boston, for alleged violation of the gift enterprise law, and was admitted to bail in $2000. Meanwhile, sales are still large, although it is now claimed that they are chiefly of books bought at trade sales years ago, at 10 to 15 cents a piece.'and that it is the public who are paying dear for their reckoning.
The genial poet-publisher-president " rises to explain" in another column, and we do him the favor of asking the trade's particular attention to his request, and of seconding his motion, namely, that it shall never speak well of him again.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR. The interests of the trade can not be better served, than by a full discussion by its members of all questions which affect it. Our columns are always open to communications on any such subject, provided they be brief and suggestive, and we cordially invite the trade to express any suggestions or opinions of interest or value in "Letters to the Editor."
A Plea for Life. Waterbury, Ct., Sept. 28, 1875. To the Editor of the Publishers' Weekly .
Dear Sir: Quite recently I have noticed, without reading the pros and cons, something in regard to the injustice of one person holding more than one public office. The teacher whose letter appears in your columns, September 25th, advocates the holding by one person of several offices or following various professions at one and the same time, namely: a teacher and a bookseller. He is, however, not singular in this practice. The teachers (the principal teachers) in this community are also booksellers ; hence, as your teacher says, "no bookstore here could be supported that would avail us." The teachers, with the aid of the publishers, have about starved out the country bookseller.
It seems to me that the position of a princi
pal, rector, or superintendent of a great school should be satisfied with that position without invading the domain of the local bookseller who is taxed for the support of said school. We are taxed to support schools ; then schoolteachers (with the aid, as aforesaid, of the publishers) take away the " means whereby we live," and "leave us poor indeed." No business, in country towns at least, is so ruthlessly invaded as the bookseller and stationer. Teachers, grocers, dry-goods men, and fancy-store keepers all " go" for us. The grocers sell ink, paper, slates and pencils, etc. The dry-goods men and fancy-store keepers sell portfolios, writing-desks, papeteries, pocket-books, memorandums and diaries, etc., especially during the Christmas holidays, thus spoiling the stationery trade at harvest time.
For one, though paying more than my proportion of school taxes (the "more" paid voluntarily), I have long since ceased to " kick' against the pricks."
This teacher of yours manifests the spirit of Caesar as drawn by Cassius, and we poor booksellers become
11 Petty men,
Walk under his huge legs, and peep about
A Question of the Times.
October 1, 1875. To the Editor of the Publishers' Weekly:
Dear Sir: There is one view of the recent action of the book trade which, if taken by yourself or any correspondent, has escaped my notice. It is briefly this: What is there in the business and financial condition of the country to justify an advance of twenty-five per cent upon any marketable commodity? Any retail buyer of books could get off twenty, and libraries and other favored buyers thirty per cent. The incomes of all classes of the community, and especially of the reading class, have suffered serious diminution within the past two years, and will illy bear the additional tax.
As a mechanical production, does a book cost any more now than it has done at any time within the past twelve years?
No one should complain of a uniform scale of discounts, or even of any of the provisions of your agreement, but the general public may and will condemn what, in the present aspect, seems to be a combination to advance prices.
If the publishers would take a lower line of retail prices, they could quiet the complaints, and still gain their end—uniformity.
Yours respectfully, Librarian.
The Boston Lottery.
Jackson, Miss., September 30, 1875. To the Editor of the Publishers' Weekly:
Dear Sir: Reading "The Boston Lottery" In Publishers' Weekly of September nth, and "A Teacher's Argument " in that of September 25th, wherein the statement appears that the Boston man retails books at $1, the advertised prices of which are from $1.50 to $3, and wherein the teacher man claims to have bought schoolbooks from firm at half price and less,
tempts me to ask you to "rise and explain"
why it is the "ways are so dark" of our publishers' discounts.
If firm could sell at half price and less,
and make a profit, I agree with the Delaware man that now to ask retail price is a "stupid conspiracy," not on the teacher, but on the whole community.
If the Boston man can sell $2 and $3 books at $1 retail, that are "new and fresh" (and I take it that the people in Boston are tolerably posted in regard to that, so that even the lottery man can not impose on them at their " own selection"), then I want to know what discount the enterprising Bostonian gets from the publishers. I would like to see his catalogue classified according to publishers of the United States, to see what firm had $2 and $3 books to sell at less than 75 cents; we could thereby approximately fasten on every publisher whether he indulges in what I would call the most abominable of underselling, going through a gamut of discounts to 80 per cent.
You say Mr. Lottery could not have bought them at the big underselling shop—the trade sale. How, under present arrangement, can "he count in with his stock the contents of the publishers' and jobbers' shops in Boston, from which he expects to buy as he sells"?
Do not call on Boston law to stop that which the trade in Boston can stop by inquiry as to parties concerned in the matter. What one man can do, another can find out how it was done, and let the balance into the secret, if such it should be. Yours very respectfully,
George C. Eyr'ich.
[It is claimed by many that the Boston lottery is doing good service to the trade, by getting rid of old stock on an innocent public, those who claim this alleging that very little fresh stock is on the shelves. We do not see how good can be done in either alternative. Whether the advertisements of such dealers be true, and new books are being slaughtered at the expense of the publishers, or whether they be false, and the public is being fooled with poor stock, the dollar-store or lottery principle is bad all around, and we certainly believe that it is to the interest of publishers and public to do what they can against such dealing.—Ed.]
Grangers and School-Books. Minneapolis, Minn., Sept. 30, 1875. To the Editor of the Publishers' Weekly:
Dear Sir: Inclosed find circular of the Patrons of Husbandry of this county, offering to sell school-books (mostly those of one house) at 30 per cent discount throughout the year. Does such a transaction come under Exception 3 of A. B. T. A., viz., "School Boards and State Normal Schools created by law and authorized to purchase books or supplies from public funds"? If publishers come to our doors to compete with us, why should small dealers agree to sell at not less than retail rates, except to ministers, teachers, etc., for their own use? Respectfully yours.
The Patrons of Husbandry have issued the following circular to the school patrons of Hennepin County:
The undersigned, a committee appointed by the Patrons of Husbandry of Hennepin County, would respectfully represent to all patrons of the public schools of said county
that they have made arrangements by which, with the cooperation of the school-boards and the people, complete uniformity of school-books may be secured for the county
but also for continuous supply.
This reduction or saving is about 30 per cent of the retail price.
The list of books selected, and which we most heartily recommend for adoption by the several school-boards, is to a large extent the same as that in use'in the public schools of the city of Minneapolis.
The books recommended we believe to be superior in quality, general style, illustrations, and typography to any heretofore used in our schools, while the prices are very much less, even at full retail rates ; but an arrangement has been made through which a reduction in the price of future supplies may inure to each and every purchaser.
Upon the opposite page accompanying this will be found a list of the books, with prices annexed, to which your attention is directed. This list shows not only the introductory prices, but the prices established for continuous supply after introduction ; also the retail prices. Sixty days from the time the first supply is ordered by the school-board is allowed each district in which to complete the introduction at the introductory prices named.
ECONOMICAL AND PRUDENT.
We earnestly and confidently commend these books, and the whole arrangement, to all the friends and patrons of our schools as the.most economical and prudent one ever offered them, and we would most respectfully urge each and every board of trustees in the county to take immediate action and adopt the list recommended. By a united action we shall secure a uniform series throughout the county, and save hundreds of dollars in the purchase of school-books, and at the same time realize all the advantages gained by the new and improved methods.
We have appointed and duly authorized Messrs. Moocrs & Plummer, dealers, of Minneapolis, as agents to receive and distribute the books, and -they have agreed to act for us in handling these books.
To secure the advantages of this arrangement all orders for first introduction should be sent to Messrs. Mooers & Plummer, and all purchases for future supplies made of them. Respectfully,
E. R. Perkins, ]
C. H. Clarke,
W. H. H.taylor, \ Committee.
Jas. A. Bull,;
C. W. Ingbrson, J
, Sept. 27, 1875.
To the Editor of the Publishers Weekly:
Dear Sir: 1st. Is it in accordance with the rules of the Publishers' Board of Trade for publishers to sell books to teachers, and other buyers of the same class, at a discount of 20 per cent! and pay freight on the same?
2d. Is a professor in a college, who pays a bookseller's license, and buys books to supply the students, and sells to them at a small advance on cost, a regular bookseller, and entitled to a bookseller's discount?
3d. Has a local bookseller the right, under the rules governing the Board of Trade, to give a discount of 25 per cent to schools, and if not, how can it be prevented?
The above queries are for information. The writer believes the first to be a clear violation of the rules by the Publishers' Board of Trade. The second either an imposition practiced on the publishers, or a neat little trick of evasion on part of both buyer and seller. The third a clear violation of the rules by the local bookseller.
Taken as a whole, all these little arrangements are in operation, and names and places can be given. BOOKSELLER.
[1. The Publishers' Board of Trade rules permit actual cost of freight, boxing, and cartage to be prepaid or deducted, in the case of introductory sales, if so agreed at time of making in
troductions (By-law iv.). On other sales, no allowance for freight, etc., in addition to the 40 per cent discount, is permitted (Bylaw xiii.). It is to be presumed that the latter prohibition holds also as to the 20 per cent rule (By-law xxxi.), but there is no definite expression on the subject in that by-law. It would probably have to be decided by the Arbitration Committee.
2. We presume he would be limited, were the facts known, to 20 per cent. 3. Clearly no; the exceptions of Board of Trade are for publishers only, and this is a violation of the A. B. T. A. 20 per cent rule. The Arbitration Committee of the latter should be applied to.—Ed.}
ARBITRATION COMMITTEE, A. B. T. A.
[official.] Decisions 1, 2, 3, Aug. 19, ) See Pub. Weekly,
1874. [• No. 138,
Decision 4, Aug. 24, 1874. ) Sept. 5, 1874.
October 1, 1875. Decision 5.—Freight Allowances. The payment of freight on goods for libraries, in addition to twenty per cent discount, is not permissible under the rule, being equivalent to an extra discount beyond the limit agreed upon. By order of the Committee,
N. R. MONACHESI, Secretary.
Providence, R. I. Providence, R. I., Oct. 1, 1875. To the Editor of the Publishers' Weekly:
Dear Sir: After the organization of the NewEngland Booksellers' Association at Boston, the Providence booksellers felt it was time for action, and also that it must be prompt and decisive, for the schools were soon to open, and if a reform was to be made there could be no delay.
Accordingly, a preliminary meeting or two were held, resulting in the formation of the "Providence Booksellers' Association," with D. Perrin as President, and A. J. Goodenough as Secretary.
The opening of the schools led to especial action in regard to school-books, and resolutions were adopted to meet the difficulty of underselling, which has been the rule here for years —school-books retailing here at wholesale prices, and teachers having 10 per cent discount from the wholesale lists. The resolutions provide a partial remedy; still we have not yet attained to the full retail prices (as our Western brethren have done), except in apart of the lists; which point is not stated in the resolutions, but which is put into practical effect in every place where it can be done.
The association has had its difficulties, and at times so serious did they seem that it was doubtful whether it would not be disbanded, or at least suffer from some members withdrawing. But no such calamity has yet befallen us, and we most sincerely hope it never will occur. The good resulting from this effort is estimated not only by dollars and cents (this part increased at least 10 percent), but especially in the better feeling manifested among the trade, each understanding his neighbors better, and feeling more trust in his " brother in the trade."
We felt we were especially near to the NewEngland Association, having appointed our president (Mr. Daniel Perrin) from among the vice-presidents of that association, and our Mr. Rider being on the Abitration Committee appointed in Boston, and Mr. Tibbitts being also on the Finance Committee of the N. E. A. Therefore we felt that our responsibility was not small, and that we must act in unison with the other organizations, especially the parent association. We have given Mr. Rider, as " arbitrator," considerable work, but we trust he will have but little need in future of his office, as far as disputes are concerned.
We have endeavored to get all of the trade in and around Providence to unite with us, and they have joined us with few exceptions. We were confronted early in our action with the position of schools, seminaries, and the larger private "institutions of learning," who have always demanded and obtained the lowest wholesale discounts. Opinion was divided, but we passed a resolution that we understood the platform of N. E. A., and other associations, to interpret the law to be, that they were privileged to have only 20 per cent from the full retail prices. Our "arbitrator" ruled this way, the Boston trade confirmed it, and we have acted accordingly—thus placing them on the footing of leathers, and not tradesmen and merchants.
The trial so far has been so much beyond our expectations, that we feel very much encouraged and gratified. Yours truly,
A. J. GOODENOUGH,
See. P. B. Association. [With this we have the printed resolutions of the Providence trade, limiting discounts to 10 per cent off retail prices to scholars, 20 off to teachers, and 10 off "wholesale or jobbing list " as a maximum to any wholesale customer. If teachers sell below scholar's price, they forfeit teacher's discount. The trade have also printed scholar's and teacher's lists on the above basis, which they circulate freely.—Ed.]
The Lee & Shepard Meeting.
The adjourned meeting of creditors of Lee & Shepard was held In Boston, Thursday mornning, Mr. H. O. Houghton in the chair, and Mr. Johnson, of Rand & Avery, acting as secretary. The committee, consisting of Messrs. Fairchild, Osgood, Avery, Sheldon, and Flemming, had been very hard at work, and in examining the books of the firm had employed an expert, who pronounced the accounts perfectly correct. It held a meeting previously to that of the creditors, and on inquiry from the committee it was found that the house was willing to undertake to pay 20 cents on time and go on. Mr. Fairchild reported for the committee, estimating the assets of the firm at $153,206.93, of which, in round numbers, $60,000 was stock in store, $13,000 sheets at binders, $5000 paper, $40,000 stereotype plates, and 130,000 accounts payable reckoned good. The direct liabilities were $489,740.84; contingent liabilities, $135,537 ; gross liabilities, $625,277.84; net liabilities, that is, deducting contingent liabilities which will probably not fall upon the firm,
$578,230.84. The firm was willing to pay 20 cents on the dollar, in notes at 6, 12, 18, and 24 months, without interest. The committee reported the cause of the disaster to the house as consisting in excess of business expenses, deterioration of stereotype plates, and loan of credit. They found no evidence of dishonesty on the part of the firm, but that, on the contrary, Messrs. Lee & Shepard are very correct in their business habits.
This report was accepted, and a general debate evinced a disposition to accept the terras proposed. The question being raised whether the firm could give security for the notes, Mr. Sheldon, Mr. Kendall, and others, expressed the opinion that the firm could fulfill their proposition, and that it would be better to trust to this than to throw the house into bankruptcy. Mr. Carpenter, representing the Eliot National Bank, stated that the bank was entirely willing to accept the proposition made by Lee & Shepard. Mr. Osgood said he was disposed to look at the matter a little more carefully. He thought the firm sincere in their offer, but he was not disposed to accept the notes without security. He felt that the firm had been doing business at an enormous excess of expenses, including interest, over their business income. Yielding to none in feelings of kindness to Messrs. Lee & Shepard, he said he would prefer to have the matter settled by some method which would mean cash. •
Mr. Lee stated that the firm had made their proposition with a full consideration of what the future may contain, and fully determined to maintain the proposition. He believed that they would be able to do what they proposed, and they would certainly try.
Mr. Houghton, having called Mr. Kendall to the chair, took the floor, and after eulogizing the members of the house personally, said that he felt that a smaller dividend in cash would be better. He submitted to the house that it would be better for them to start anew untrammeled. He therefore offered to take the assets at $80,000 cash, obtaining a title of equal validity with that of an assignee in bankruptcy, but without putting the firm into bankruptcy. This would give creditors nearly 15 cents on the dollar.
Mr. Houghton's proposition brought Mr. Lee to his feet, who declared that this would be equivalent to wiping out the house. Mr. Sheldon said it was too much like speculating on a corpse, and others spoke in similar vein. Mr. Osgood said that while he had no desire to wipe out Lee & Shepard, nor to allow any person to speculate in the assets of the firm, he certainly had a strong desire to obtain fifteen cents, cash, on the dollar, if that is to be obtained. He thought the firm would be better off in the future without their present property than with it.
Mr. Lee said that the proposition took the firm quite by surprise, and he asked an adjournment of the meeting for, say, a fortnight, subject to the call of Lee & Shepard, in order that the firm might have time to see what they could do in regard to making a new proposition. Such a motion was carried, Mr. Houghton meanwhile explaining the proposition of his house, and declaring their desire to see Lee & Shepard continue in the book trade. He stated his willingness to accept fifteen cents cash on the dollar.
An Open Letter to Henry C. Lea.
[we are requested by the subscribing firms lo give space to the letter herewith.—Ed.]
Cleveland, O.. September 21, 1875. Henry C. Lea:
Dear Sir: We are sorry to trouble you with another letter, but we must. One man in Cleveland, a canvassing agent, who keeps no store and keeps no stock, persists in underselling, and selling at rates that will not pay a living profit in the united wisdom of the trade. We have exhausted moral suasion, and he will not yield, and we call at head-quarters for the protection to which honest dealers are entitled from book-publishers. You say he does not buy of you, and you can not control him. We must decidedly differ with you. He did undersell Appleton's books, and D. Appleton & Co. told him to stop, or they would cut him off. He tried 10 buy, and did buy outside, but we reported him still underselling, and D. Appleton & Co said to New-York jobbers, " Cut off this man, or we cut you off." The result is he undersells Appleton's books no more. All honor to the firm for their backbone, and for their full protection to fair dealers. They stand well with the trade, and their books show the result in increased sales.
You say you can not control him on your books; most emphatically you can. What Appletons have done, Henry C. Lea can do, and can do more easily than they could do it. But few houses, comparatively, handle your books. You can say to them very easily, " You must refuse to supply underscllers, or I will refuse to supply you." That will end the trouble. You are the only publisher of any importance, to our knowledge, who holds back from this just measure. The book trade of the country waits for you. You are now the only man who blocks the whole reform movement, and the book trade is looking to see if you will give them the backing that ought to be given, and that other publishers have willingly given.
We telegraphed to-day to a New-York house to see if they kept the 10 per cent rule—one of the largest handlers of medical books in NewYork. They reply, " We do not—Mr. Lea will not support us." Our underselling competitor would stop at once if New-York underselling did—he tells us so to-day. But they can not stop, because you supply a man or firm that knowingly, willfully, and notoriously undersells— makes a businessof chopping off the just profits of his neighbors.
We repeat, you are the man, the only man, who stands in the way to-day of a just reform in a branch of the book trade, and the trade is looting to you to see if you will do the fair and just thing by them, which you can so easily do.
Regretting the necessity of writing this, we are yours truly,
Ingham, Clarke & Co.
The Centennial Exhibition.
The Centennial Committee of the A. B. T. A., which met in Philadelphia, October 15th, Mr. John A. Black presiding, and Mr. H. T. Coates acting as secretary, call attention to the fact that applications for space in the Exhibition must be filed at the office of the Director
General by October 15th. Only a simple statement of intention to exhibit is required, with measurement of space desired, and blanks for this purpose will be forwarded immediately on application to " Director-General, International Exhibition, Philadelphia." These applications are then filed in order, and in the course of a few weeks the applicant receives an allotment of space.
Books, periodicals, etc., come in the " Department of Science and Education," Class 306, under the following schedule:
"Class 306.—School and text-books: Dictionaries, encyclopaedias, gazetteers, directories, index volumes, bibliographies, catalogues, almanacs, special treatises, general and miscellaneous literature, newspapers, technical and special newspapers and journals, illustrated papers, periodical literature."
In respect to this class, a committee, headed by Gen. John Eaton, of the National Bureau of Education, makes the following suggestions, which will apply to general literature as well as to educational:
"There will necessarily be considerable duplication in this division. In the first place, it is desirable to have several complete sets of text-books actually prescribed and used in the unclassified country schools, and the different grades of classified public schools, from different foreign nations, and from different parts of our own country, as well as in representative institutions for secondary, collegiate, professional, and special schools, in their ordinary binding. Then from publishers, collective sets of their text-book publications, of whatever description or grade, and finally, sets from authors of their respective productions. Samples of the most complete sets of books of reference provided for elementary schools, and in actual use; also the same in respect to secondary schools. Accompanying statements of the prices of text-books.
"Catalogues of books of reference in higher and professional schools, with collections of books. Cases should be sent of suitable size, and shelving to coptain them. The cases should be neat, but without ornament, with glazed doors; they should be of uniform height for convenience and comeliness of installation, the requisite diversity of capacity being secured by varying the width, according to the bulk of the books to be contained, or by multiplying the number of cases. The cases should be exactly four feet high, or exactly two feet high, with no bottom or top ornament except simple mouldings, and these must not extend beyond the above designated dimensions. The depth of the cases may conform to the sizes of the books to be contained. They should be of dark-colored wood, or stained to resemble such."
We have obtained a list of those who have so far applied for space from the book and kindred interests, hoping that the fewness of names may spur up those who have not done so to make application immediately. The name of Dreyer, Simpson & Co., corner Tenth and Chestnut streets, Philadelphia, is sent us as agents who take charge of all sorts of business connected with the Exhibition, with whom Mr. George Remsen co operates as an expert in books, stationery, paper, etc. No intervention is, however, necessary to secure space. A failure of full representation at the Exhibition