Sir A. Conan Doyle on the "Times" Book War

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Sir A. Conan Doyle on the "Times" Book War is a letter written by Arthur Conan Doyle first published in the Daily Express No. 2059, 20 november 1906.

Sir A. Conan Doyle on the "Times" Book War

Daily Express No. 2059 (p. 5)

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle has forwarded to the "Standard" the following letter, which he has received from the "Times" Book Club :—

The "Times" Book Club, London, W.,
November 16, 1906.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Hindhead, Surrey.

Dear Sir, — We should be glad to order from your publishers, Messrs. Smith, Elder and Co., a large number of copies of "Sir Nigel," at the trade price, but they have refused to supply us with their publications. We greatly regret their action, as we know that our subscribers would be glad to read your book if we could circulate it freely among them.

There is, we believe, in the usual form of author's agreement, a clause to the effect that the author may purchase from the publisher copies of his book at trade prices ; and it occurs to us that you may have this right in respect of "Sir Nigel." Should that be the case, we should be glad, if you see no objection, to obtain direct from you 1,950 copies, as 1,800 upon the usual tra de terms, provided that we can obtain them at once. — Yours faithfully,


Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's comment on the letter is as follows :—

"When you consider that this provision in the contract is a traditional courtesy for the convenience of the author in supplying his friends with copies, it seems hard to find a word which would express the meanness involved in using it as a weapon — or suggesting it as one — against the publisher himself."