Letter from Leonard Woolf to Norman Leys (04/08/1924)

  • Image of handwritten letter from Leonard Woolf to Norman Leys (04/08/1924) page 1
  • Image of handwritten letter from Leonard Woolf to Norman Leys (04/08/1924) page 2




[[MS 2750/255/19]]


Monk's House
near Lewes


4 August, 1924


Dear Leys,


I have got the estimate from Clark for printing and binding alternatively 1050 and 1550 copies in the same type, style, and paper as the "LETTERS OF STEPHEN REYNOLDS". They have allowed for 16000 words for the last two chapters and 12 pp. of index, and the total number of pages would thus be approximately 424. This is their net estimate:-


                                                            1050 copies                          1550 copies

Printing (including jacket)               188     1          3                      209     19        9


Binding 500 copies comes to £22-7-6. I certainly should not have more than 500 copies bound up to start with, so that your initial expenses for printing and binding would be:-


                                                            1050 copies                          1550 copies

                                                            £          s          d                      £          s          d

                                                            210     8          9                      232     7          3


Add a maximum of £12 for distribution and miscellaneous expenses:-


                                                            222     8          9                      244     7          3


This is excluding the cost of the maps--let us say £7-10-0 for those. Then there is advertizing upon which you can spend just as little or as much as you like. Say you spend £40 on advertizing and circularizing which is putting it high. Your total initial expenses would then come to a minimum of £270 for 1050 copies and £293 for 1550 copies It would be safer to add another £5 for proof corrections which would make the figures roughly £275 and £300 respectively, but these are maximum figures and include allowance for maps and for £40 on advertizing. Of course if you sold more than 400 copies, you would have to go and bind up more copies and this would cost about £4-10-0 per hundred.


Now for the receipts; one reckons about 100 review and free copies, so that if you print 1050, you will have about 950 actually for sale, and if 1550, 1450 for sale. If you print 1050, and sell out the whole edition, I reckon that you will make a net profit of about £35 after paying everything including our commission; if you sell about 825 copies you will just cover expenses; if you sell 500 copies, your loss will be about £100; if you sell 300 copies, your loss will be about £175. If you print 1550 copies, and sell out the whole edition, at 12/6 net, your net profit will be about £170; if you sell 1000 copies, your profit will be about [4 illeg. characters crossed out] £[1? or 2?]0; if you sell 500 copies, your loss will be about £125; if you sell 300 copies, your loss will be about £200.





Of course your loss will be less and your profit greater if you publish at 16/- net, but on the whole I should not charge more than 16/-. As to the number which you should print, it is a difficult question. I think the book extraordinarily good, but, as I said, the chances of this kind of book selling are very small. I shall consider that the book has done very well if you sell 500 copies. On the other hand you may sell more than 1000 copies. If you want to be certain of keeping your losses down as low as possible, you ought not to print more than 1050; but if you do not mind running the risk of losing an additional £25 on the chance of making an additional £100 if the book does extraordinarily well, then you should print 1550.


Will you let me know by return


(a) Whether I am to tell Clark to begin setting;


(b) Whether, if so, I am to accept his estimate for the 1050 or the 1550 copies?


Yours sincerely | Leonard Woolf [signature]

Rights Statement:

Reproduced with permission from Penguin Random House UK Archive and Library owner of the Hogarth Press archive collection, held by the University of Reading Special Collections. With thanks to the Society of Authors This item has not been made available with a CC BY-NC-ND licence. Please see the terms of use page for further information.

Source: MS 2750/255/19

Letter from Leonard Woolf to Norman Leys (04/08/1924)


University of Reading, Special Collections

Archival Folder:

Leonard Woolf writes to state that he has received a printing and binding estimate and provides further information about costings and expected profits and projected losses.


Typescript letter signed by Woolf