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lishers can bring out and sell here, and can sell in larger quantities if the libraries will help. It is a question of inconvenience, which is the final argument that the matter rests on, and I am perfectly frank to say I do not believe it is a real one. I know as a lawyer if I wanted an English law book, I would ask an American publisher to get it for me. If, under the new law, that happened to be reprinted in this country and a bookstore will write back and say, “ This book has just been brought out in the United States, and do you not want to get it in the United States edition ?” that I probably will say yes, but I may say that I want the English edition for some personal reason, and he will be the man who will find out how to get it.
I do not see any hopeless problem there, but that is the problem that the book stores have to-day. A man writes in and asks for a book from England. If that book is, to-day copyrighted in this country, that book can not be brought in for purchase. The bookstore must go through this procedure and look up in the catalogue and see if he may send to England or can not. He does it every day any way and I can not see there is anything really wrong. I think we are discussing purely imaginary difficulties. I think the example stated, that the catalogue cost 'would be so great, is not important. It costs about $20 a year. They take it anyway. They must buy some American books and how do they find out who are the publishers of the American books unless they have a catalogue? Frankly, we would not ask for anything which we thought was seriously interfering with the libraries. We have tried to cut down our demands to what we thought was a minimum, and, in recognition of the importance of education and the diffusion of knowledge to the mass of scholars, we did not seek to prevent their getting English editions even though we have an American edition. We do not think we are asking a lot in requesting them to do it, however, through an American agency.
In reference to the precedents of foreign countries, after all, I think we are able to reach our own decision as to wise legislation without following foreign countries. The question as to what is the English law, at best, is very doubtful. `Mr. Putnam's understanding is that the English statute is just the one that we are asking for. Mr. Raney seems to think differently, but at any rate it is important to notice that in the letter which Mr. Raney read it was stated that in any event the number of foreign editions brought in from year to year was very rare and that is the important point from the English point of view. They have not the same problem that we have. Their manufacturing costs are low. There is not any chance of anyone trying to import any large quantities in England, of American copies of an English book, and therefore it is rare, but in our case it amounted to $2,900,000 in 1924.
Canada's situation is not like ours, but in Canada, as Mr. Raney said, section C reads that libraries could import a copy only if there were no edition published in Canada.
There is no possibility of a comparison with Switzerland. Switzerland is not a country that has any publishing interests. They publish very few books and it is a country so widely different in manufacture and industry and racially that there is no precedent. I think we should come back and analyze the situation and try to devise what is fair from the American point of view and considered from the point of view of the interests of the Americans it is our duty to protect.
Mr. Raney suggested a change in the law which would eliminate the country of origin clause, although he did not discuss that in his talk; in other words, the effect of taking out the language which he suggests is this: Not only would it permit an English edition to be brought in of an English work, but it means that an American work, where the original edition is by an American author, and it is brought out and manufactured here, that somebody can get the English rights to that and go over to England and manufacture more cheaply and then import that into this country to libraries.
We claim that we have recognized fully the rights of scientists in saying they could get the original edition if they want it, but we do not see any reason why anyone should not be satisfied with the American edition if it is the original, and simply want to go to England for the reprint. Furthermore, there is a practical question. If that clause goes out there is a possibility that either the publishing houses will form branches or start new publishing houses in Canada where manufacturing costs are lower than here and they will manufacture them in Canada and send them in by the mails to individuals and libraries in this country. We feel firmly there is no particular reason justifying that demand. We feel if we give the scientists the right to get the original that is as far as we should go.
In conclusion, I should like to say again that the publishers have tried to approach the whole question in the spirit of compromise. They have given up their full 100 per cent in order to get concessions, and we feel, in the case of the libraries, we have gone as far as we should go and the libraries have not met us an inch.
Mr. PERKINS. Do you know what the difference in the cost of publishing in America and England is?
Mr. SELIGMAN. I do not know, but Mr. Melcher is here.
Mr. MELCHER. The cost involves two things, the setting and run. We make up in the run what we lose in the setting. I believe the price of English books--200 books commonly asked for by librariesruns 2612 cents to the shilling; in other words, books here cost 10 per cent more than in England taking the type of books in the index the libraries use. The American publishers, however, recog. nizing that libraries constitute quantity buyers, give a 25 per cent discount, which makes the American book cheaper than the English book. Here [exhibiting] is an English book, 7 and 6. Here is the American book [exhibiting], which costs $2, and this particular book brings up one more point that I would like to bring out here. There [indicating] is a lot of books. There is a very small chance of publishing them profitably. If you can count on the whole market, you can make it, but if you can not, you call it off.
Mr. Bloom. You mean the libraries have to buy, too, in order to make it go?
Mr. MELCHER. Yes. Here is a typical book of that kind [exhibiting). There is not much interest in that book at present, and you wonder if you can publish it profitably. If you get the whole
American market you will take a chance and manufacture it in the style Americans like. You could not sell 300 of those books printed in that style [exhibiting]. That book is not set up so as to attract the American trade, and on that point, unless you get the whole market, you can not afford to put it out. That is the reason it is important and precisely the reason it is important that the libraries should buy it.
Now, take a man handling importations for them and importations for sale
Mr. PERKINS. I should like to ask this question, that was asked by Mr. Wefald: Why this great prediliction on the part of the libraries for the English edition?
Mr. MELCHER. My experience is more as a bookseller than as a publisher. The least creditable interest is the matter of swank. A librarian once told me in a large city that in his library they never had a book on the shelves that was published in England, that did not come from England. That is what we call in this country swank, and that is the least creditable reason.
Mr. PERKINS. What is the definition of swank?
Mr. MELCHER. It is swank when you have a less-attractive edition of an English author because it gives a cultural air of being right in touch
Mr. PERKINS. Like using the broad "a"!
Mr. MELCHER. Yes, sir; and the next question is this: You leave an order on file with an English agent, “ If you have a book on travel, we are interested in it." I had a letter sent to me recently by a library interested in travel. Thirty-five out of fifty books he talked about he referred to the high point “Buy the English edition.” He could have bought most of them here, but he wanted to buy them over there.
Mr. Putnam, commenting about Cambridge literature, stated that what they wanted were the editions with the word “ Cambridge on them; you must have the Cambridge edition—swank! I do want to say this, than we have heard here from the book-buying committee of the Library Association. I am one of the publishers of a journal of the Library Association, the Library World, and therefore I read all the bulletins of the Library Association. The book-buying committee, in all the time I have watched their bulletins, has never issued a bulletin telling the librarians anything about the advantages of American editions. Three years ago they issued an article on how the little library can buy abroad; that it was just as easy for the small library to buy abroad as the big library. They stated, " You do thus and so," and then they illustrated by giving comparative prices of the American and English editions, and they were as incorrect as the prices they introduced last April, because the prices introduced last April had to do with books not manufactured in this country and had no application to the discussion, and I think it is unfortunate that a professional organization like that should introduce figures of that character.
Mr. WEFALD. Is it not true that the buying of foreign books constitutes a sort of cultural intercourse with foreign countries?
Mr. MELCHER. Yes, sir; and we ought to read as many foreign books as we can, it is true, but four years ago H. G. Wells wrote a
very important book, “Outline of History of the World.” Now, what does publishing that book over here mean? Does it mean simply putting that book into the libraries? It means getting behind it and selling 700,000 copies. Do we want to recognize education is so small that the only good Wells's book accomplished was to get into this country and find its way onto the shelves of the libraries! Or should that book get out as well into my home and your home? Publishing it over here has meant that 700,000 have been sold over here, and yet, under the bill, permitting importations for sale as well as for libraries, the publishers tell me it would have cut that distribution in half, because they will not get back of a product when you can only have a subdivided market, and therefore they have to have the whole market to draw upon. Without that market it would have meant hundreds of thousands not manufactured and read in this country.
We have a broader view of education than that, and I am looking for the day when the American Library Association will take a broader view of education than is indicated by their attitude in this matter.
We booksellers and the publishers are proud of the educational work we do in this country.
Mr. Bloom. Mr. Seligman, you spoke about bootlegging. I want to know if you intend to enforce on these librarians a sort of literary Volstead Act?
Mr. SELIGMAN. In reply to that, without wishing to express my own personal views on the prohibition amendment, I do think that this particular provision can be perfectly easily enforced, and I do not think that there is any further analogy between the two than there is, at the present time, a violation of law in books just as there are many other violations of law, and merely because prohibition is hard to enforce it does not mean we should not have other laws.
Mr. BLOOM. Are these librarians going to be allowed to buy books elsewhere?
Mr. SELIGMAN. I think they are going to continue. However, we hope we can persuade them not to.
I hope you gentlemen will realize the concessions the book publishers have made, after hearing the enthusiasm of Mr. Melcher in reference to not taking the extreme position that no books should be brought in.
Mr. PERKINS. I hold the librarians in high regard, but your speech left the impression they are not as patriotic as you want them to be.
Mr. SELIGMAN. I think that is a fair criticism.
Mr. PERKINS. I think that is a big question and should be discussed further.
The CHAIRMAN. I think I understood you right; you are not making the charge particular that the libraries are booklegging?
Mr. SELIGMAN. No, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. The charge of booklegging was laid against the individual who brings a book over for his own use and puts it in the bookstore and sells it.
Mr. SELIGMAN. Exactly, Mr. Vestal. I tried to make two entirely distinct points, and the booklegging point has nothing to do with the libraries. I merely pointed out that this law treats individuals and
libraries alike and gives them both the right to import for use, and that individuals were taking advantage of that in the way. I mentioned. I did not, for a moment, suggest that the libraries were doing that. That is not the case. The libraries do not sell books.
Mr. WEFALD. I think between the libraries and you people who have appeared here there is a constitutional difference. Mr. PERKINS. Do you agree with Mr. Melcher's theory
theory of “swank"?
Mr. SELIGMAN. I think there is something to that. I am not a bookseller, and my statement would have to be based on my own experience. When you get a book from London
Mr. PERKINS. Some people carry that even to the extent of their clothes, do they not?
Mr. SELIGMAN. Yes, sir.
Mr. SELIGMAN. Yes, sir. We do not go as far as we might in asking you gentlemen to prohibit that. Some of these publishers would like that and did ask for it, but that is not the position we take.
Mr. McLEOD. Is it not proper, in your mind, that a man should buy such clothes as he wants ?
Mr. SELIGMAN. Yes, sir.
Mr. McLEOD. You said a moment ago that some of the book publishers have not gone that far, insinuating they might go that far.
Mr. SELIGMAN. No; I said when it comes to the position that the publishers should take and as to what bill the publishers should seek to have cast, some publishers felt it was fair to ask, if there was a good American edition available in this country, that everybody should be compelled to buy it and not go to England. Other publishers felt that while that had some force there were other considerations that entered, and science and education and anybody should have the right to go abroad and buy the original edition, and therefore this position has been taken as expressed in the bill as it now stands, which is not the extreme position that could have been taken.
Mr. McLEOD. You have no objection to an individual buying from a dealer books written abroad and sold in this country? What is the objection to that! Where is the competition there?
Mr. SELIGMAN. We are discussing only the case of competition. All of this is limited to one case where the American publisher has brought out an American edition copyrighted and manufactured here and trying to sell it as widely as possible. It is precisely in connection with the competition in that case that brings up the question how far we should go in asking protection. We might have gone the whole limit in asking for that protection, but we did not. We thought by asking that extreme protection that we were asking something entirely in our own interest and perhaps to the detriment of others. So all we ask is that orders for the English edition come through the American publisher. That will give the American publisher the chance to break down the present lack of harmony between the two groups. I think, for instance, Mr. Melcher will be very successful in selling them the idea.