Letter from Leonard Woolf to Norman Leys (16/02/1926)

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[[MS 2750/255/96]]


Norman Leys, Esq., M. D., 
Brailsford, Nr. Derby.


February 16th. 1926.


Dear Leys:


I should strongly advise you under no circumstances whatsoever to have anything to do with joint publishing. I have seen a good deal of it both in the Fabian Society and in the Labour Research Department and ti [sic] is always a hopeless failure. As far as I am concerned as a publisher, nothing on earth will induce me, under ordinary circumstances to publish a book jointly with another publisher. I have had proposals for other books, for instance from Benn, but always refused. Of course that does not mean that I want in any way to stand in your way if you would prefer another publisher to publish the cheap edition. Only the confusion which results from joint publication always means that in the end the books falls between the two  publishers.


The publication of the cheap edition is bound to be rather a toss-up. You cannot expect reviews and you will have to trust, to a certain extent, to advertising. I give you a recent experience of our own for what it is worth. We published my wife’s*1 book of critical essays “The Common Reader” in an edition of 1200 copies last year and sold it out, @ 12/6 At the end of last year we brought out a cheaper edition @ 7/6 and in 2 ½ months have sold nearly 350 copies. This is practically without advertising and, of course, there have been no reviews. My own opinion is that the only way to sell a cheap edition of abook [sic] like Kenya in any really large quantities would be to get it pushed by certain organisations or societies One of the last publishers in London which I would go to for this purpose would be Macmillan. Allen & Unwin would be very much better.


Let me know if there is any other information that you would now like us to give in regard to the cheaper edition.


Yours, | [illeg. signature]



* Endnotes


1. Virginia Woolf

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Source: MS 2750/255/96

Letter from Leonard Woolf to Norman Leys (16/02/1926)


University of Reading, Special Collections

Archival Folder:

Leonard Woolf advises Leys against joint publishing but states he will not stand in the way if Leys would like another publisher to publish a cheap edition. Leonard Woolf refers to Virginia Woolf's work The common reader and how well it did as a frame of reference for Leys. He suggests better publishers that would do better with a cheap edition.


Typescript letter signed by Woolf