Harry Scherman's belief that ""readers of this country want to read new books, more of them and better books"" has been...

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THE HIDDEN PUBLIC: The Story of the Book-of-the-Month Club

Harry Scherman's belief that ""readers of this country want to read new books, more of them and better books"" has been progressively and profitably demonstrated in the history of the Book-of-the-Month Club. Here is a large part of the inside story, and ""inside stories"" are surely popular with a curious public. Those who know already most of this particular story will hope for some of the color and drama and personalities but Mr. Lee has either been reluctant to reveal or is not permitted to report. But for the average inquiring reader who wants to know what makes it tick, here are the facts. Statistics are here, for those who care; but for most people, the most interesting parts of this book are those dealing with the original idea, its development and amplifications and by-products; the relation of the book clubs in general- and the B O M in particular- to the retailers in the book trade, the recurrent battles- and the actual facts regarding sales. Then there are the effects of depression, of war years, of competition on the growth and the aspects of the B O M. This reader found the analysis of the subscribers the most revealing, not just statistically, but in relation to towns and cities and rural areas. The special services (record clubs, children's books, Christmas cards, etc., etc.) will surprise a good many people, even those in the industry. Problems of manufacture, advertising, promotion, mailing lists are all part of the story- but seem pretty dry reading. The final sections give lists of selection, commentary from critics, and so on. Competent but not creative reportage sums up the final impression.

Pub Date: Dec. 18, 1958

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 1958