Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 14.djvu/52

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42
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

book appealed to a highly-intelligent class, that associated with their intelligence the means of purchasing the book, and they did purchase it. Had the book been published in the first instance at 3s. 6d., no doubt that same class of buyers would have purchased the book, but it would certainly have been at my personal loss.

Q. Perhaps that may be the case; but if you had published it originally, instead of at 6s., at a higher price, do not you think that probably your sale would not have been as large as it was at 6s.?

A. That I cannot say. I always have a conversation with my publisher on these matters, and I defer very much to his knowledge.

Q. But at once by publishing at 6s. you addressed yourself to a public who could afford 6s., instead of to a public only who could afford a higher price. Many people could pay 6s. who could not pay 12s. 6d.?

A. I assume authors to possess a certain amount of conscience; and if Mr. Longman had proposed to me to publish that book at 12s. 6d., I should have objected to the price. Considering the amount of labor I had invested in the book, I should not have allowed him to publish it at 12s. 6d.

Q. That is because you are an exceptionally conscientious man perhaps?

A. Speaking for myself, I certainly should have prohibited that.

Q. You mentioned that you considered that the plan that we have been discussing with the last witness would be an interference with your rights. May I ask you exactly to define what you think your rights are? I will tell you why I ask you that; it is this, I want to know whether your rights are rights of remuneration, or rights of control over the publication, that is to say, the type in which it is to be, or the particular form in which it is to be published?

A. I am speaking altogether of rights of remuneration. An illustration occurs at the present moment. I am now engaged on the sixth edition of my book on "Heat," and I really intend to go in a few days to the Messrs. Longman and to say, " I think that, considering your labor and mine, we ought to have another arrangement, and that 1 ought to receive a higher proportion of the profits than I have hitherto received. You know it is open to me to go to another publisher, and you also know that I shall have no difficulty in obtaining the terms which I now offer to you." I regard it as my undoubted right, considering the labor I have expended on those works, to take them to the best market. If Longman does not give me my terms I should like to have the liberty of going to Macmillan, Chapman & Hall, Mr. Henry King, or Mr. Murray. That is the right I claim.

Q. You stand in a far better position toward Mr. Longman than an unknown man would?

A. I dare say; but I have had to raise myself into that position by very hard work.

Q. You said just now that these were only "beliefs" that we had.