John Wurtele Lovell Company,
New York, 1878-1881
John W. Lovell Company, New York, 1882-1891
THE LOVELL COMBINATION: ITS SCOPE AND PLANS.
The Publishers' Weekly No. 948 (March 29, 1990)
THE following circular, which we print from advance proof, is going out or will presently be sent to the book and news trade of the United States and Canada, under date of March 27:
In connection with the issuing of the accompanying Clearance Catalogue, it seems desirable to make an explanation as to the causes that have led to the consolidation of the various interests mentioned; and the results, it is hoped, with the cooperation of the book trade, may be attained.
For several years past little if any profit has lien made in the publishing or handling of what are known as the Standard and Compeiitiw books, such as 12mos and poets. The intense competition has also led to a great deterioration in the manufacture -- paper, in many cases, being used that would be spurned by a penny newspaper, combined with printing and binding that have brought reproach upon American publishers. It is notorious t:hat such badly made books have never appeared elsewhere.
To remedy these recognized evils I endeavored to enlist the coooperation of the publishers of these classes of books, but found that the only solution lay in one firm or corporation obtaining poemssion of the plates and stock of the various editions, and, by enlisting the cooperation of the book trade, maintaining a higher grade of manufacture and stable prices.
For many years the indirect losses to the book trade have been very great, arising mainly from the fact that it was impossible to carry a well-assorted stock with any safety, prices so constantly changing as to make it extremely hazardous to order for more than actual wants.
Books are peculiarly an article of merchandise, the sale of which can be increased or diminished by the larger or smaller stocks carried by the dealers. A large and well-assorted stock will attract purchasers. but such stock can only safely be carried if prices can be assured and indiscriminate cutting be forever abolished.
My plan, briefly, then, is to obtain by purchase the plates of the various competing editions of standard sets, poets and 12mos, now published in this country. This has been practically accomplished.
It is too late to make any changes for this spring, but for the tall trade the editions now is preparation will be printed on fine book paper, well bound, and, prices considered, be as creditable specimens of book-making as can be obtained. To cover the extra cost of manufacture, a slight advance will be made to the prices that ruled for the inferior-made books of last year. The prices will be uniform. All jobbers will be required to sell at publisher's prices, and dealers who will cooperate in maintaining prices can depend upon buying at lowest rates, and upon being protected should competing editions appear at any time. While it is impossible, for this year at least, to regulate retail prices. it is believed that the example of the publisher and jobber will be followed by the retailer, and in selling a fair percentage be added to the cost, so as to realize a reasonable profit. At any rate, the dealer can depend that no discounts will be given by the publisher, except to the trade, and the competition of the publisher will thus be removed. The great object to be attained will be to protect the legitimate bookseller, and any suggestions as to how that may be better accomplished will be heartily welcomed by the publisher.
To close out the inferior-made editions of last year the present Clearance Catalogue is issued. It is recognised that the considerable number of these books still on hand stay lead to some demoralization in prices this year. Nevertheless, the stock of these books is less than one-fifth of the normal yearly demand, and the fact that increased prices will rule in the fall will lead to their rapid consumption.
The plates of the competing editions of standard sets, 12mos and poets, that have already been obtained or contracted for are from:
HURST & COMPANY,
THE ALDEN BOOK Co.,
POLLARD & MOSS,.
FRANK F. LOVELL & Co.,
THE ALDINE BOOK Co.,
DE WOLFE, FISKE & Co.,
J.B. LYON, ALBANY
DONOHUE, HENNEBERRY & Co.,
BELFORD, CLARKE & Co.,
J. B. LIPPINCOTT Co., Philadelphia.
And the plates and stock of the paper-covered series of
NORMAN L. MUNRO,
NATIONAL PUBLISHING Co.,
And it is expected the negotiations with the few remaining firms mill soon be successfully concluded.
Competition hereafter can only have one result -- the cheapening of prices and manufacture, with a return to the demoralization that has ruled during the past two or three years. No competing edition can be made so cheaply that the trade cannot depend upon a still cheaper one being issued to protect the interests I represent, and therefore no stocks of such a competing edition could be bought with any security as to price.
By declining to handle such competing editions, should such appear, the trade will protect itself. I, on my part, pledge myself to the maintenance of stable prices, uniform alike to all dealers throughout the country. Controlling more than one-half the yearly output of cloth-bound books handled by the trade (school-books excepted) and over three-fourths of the paper-covered books, it will be my constant aim to study the interests of the legitimate book and news dealer; and the plan I expect to inaugurate this year, to be announced later, will, I trust, accomplish that result.
In the sincere hope that a brighter era has dawned for the book trade to publishers, jobbers, and retailers alike, Very respectfully, JWL
Last revised: 29 October 2010