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HOW ARE THESE BOOKS EDITED? In the case of books originally written in the English language the reprints are based on the best existing texts as determined by an expert in bibliography. Our editions of such ancient and recent continental writings as have survived, and now deserve wider reading, are based on translations which have stood the test of a half-century of criticism.
Our editions may be depended upon for the accuracy of the reprint, the practical value of the annotation, the relative perfection of the proof-reading. Our proofs are not entrusted to the printer, but are read by experienced editors. They are read three times after the printer has done his best. The reprints are unabridged and unexpurgated.
All editorial matter tends to convey exact encyclopedic information rather than the personal opinions of the editor. This information is intended to be helpful and readable. It includes the bibliographical story of the book—under what conditions it was written, how it was received and what place it has come to occupy in the minds of men—the biographical story of the author, terse notes explaining allusions and proper names in the text, a table of dates showing the place of the author and his book in literary history, a glossary where needed, an index, and a table of authorities.
IS THIS ANOTHER LITERARY PIRACY? copyright laws of every country will be scrupulously observed. Wherever the circumstances warrant the Unit reprint will be issued by arrangement with the former owner of the literary rights involved, though the work in question may be technically not in copyright.
The series does not consist exclusively of non-copyright books, but includes books still in copyright in the United States and in Great Britain. By arrangement with their authors certain books of practical value are to be issued on the unit system.
ARE THE BOOKS PRESENTABLE? The Unit issues are printed in a broad-faced type, clear and legible, and not from worn-out plates. The paper is a creamy buff, opaque and light in the hand. It is technically known as "featherweight," and is peculiarly soft and mellow. The margins are wide and the effect is simple and dignified.
Dr. Johnson once said: "The books that can be held in the hand and carried to the fireside are the best after all." We had the good doctor's dictum in mind when the question of format had to be decided. We remembered also that Sir Walter Scott was fond of a certain edition of his works, chiefly on the score of its size. And we founded our format on the dimensions of this edition. In height seven inches, in breadth four and three-quarter inches, in thickness varying from five-eighths to one inch, our volume is a trim, compact book of a size that does not weary the wrist, but is pleasant to carry in the pocket and large enough to appear well on the library shelf. The issues vary in length from 200 to 600 pages.
The paper and cloth-bound copies will have cut edges and the full leather-bound copies a gilt top. The paper wrapper is stout and will not tear readily. The cloth cover is a durable linen crash stamped in gold. The full leather binding is in a new pattern lettered in gold. All the bindings are flexible and will bear long usage. A dark green is the uniform color of the three bindings. This is the type-face adopted for this series. This is the quality of paper used in all editions. Future issues will be printed on a thicker paper, thus reducing so far as practicable the transparent effect. These are the margins and the dimensions of the book itself.
WHY "A NEW WAY OF PUBLISHING BOOKS"? We began with the proposition that books worth having are too dear in this country. Here the dear books and the cheap
books are dearer than the corresponding books of the great reading nations of Europe. Such is the need. We answer it with The Unit Books, the cheapest series of books ever published in America and made on a system fair to bookproducer and to book-buyer.
Our books are sold at prices based on the length of the book and therefore on the actual cost of production. However long the original text, we publish it in its entirety on a uniform quality of paper and in the same size of type. The length and binding of the book determine its price..
We begin with our unit of 25 pages.
The price of each set of 25 pages is one cent.
The price of 100 pages is 4 cents, and each additional 25 pages adds one cent to the price.
Thus, 250 pages cost 10 cents and 400 pages cost 16
We bind our books in three bindings
(1) Stiff paper of a durable sort. (2) Cloth with gold title.
(3) Full leather lettered in gold.
A paper wrapper is given with the printed pages.
The full leather binding costs 50 cents additional. The price of the single volume is regulated by the number of units it contains, and by the binding you choose.
Postage is charged extra at the rate of eight cents per volume. Orders must be accompanied by the proper remittance, as we cannot afford to open small accounts.
It is this principle of proportionate prices which the general title of the series is intended to emphasize. The price of the book is printed on the paper wrapper, and is inserted in the cloth and leather bindings in such a way as to permit its removal without damaging the book.
This new system of publishing is more logical than the system of fixed prices for reprints. Other things being equal, it costs less to produce a short book than a long one.
Hitherto the selling price of the short book has been as high as that of the long. And even the longest book has not been sold to you at a loss. We give you the benefit of the saving on the shorter book. Our prices are regulated by the cost of the actual materials and workmanship which go toward the making of the book.
WITH WHAT BOOKS DOES THE UNIT SERIES BEGIN? In compiling this list of the first 100 books the publisher attempted to produce a catholic collection of books, in which every person, however unusual his literary tastes, may find at least one book to satisfy and profit him. This list will be amended and added to from time to time. The texts will appear on the first day of each month and the year's issue of 12 unabridged volumes may be subscribed for in advance as though it were a monthly magazine. We are at present unable to quote the proposed yearly subscription price. This information will be given in a later bulletin. As the lengths and prices of The Unit Books are determined, announcements will be made in these bulletins.
The Unit Books may be had separately.
The list is tentative. We invite suggestions from every lover of good books. If you would like to see a reprint of any book write us about it.
1 The Marble Faun Hawthorne
21 units (524 pages)
1 Sept. 1908
Knickerbocker's History of New York
12 Democracy in America (2 vols) De
1 July 1904
1 Aug. 1904
Parables from Nature
The Conspiracy of Pontiac Parkman
The Autocrat of the Breakfast Table
Doctor Thorne Anthony Trollope
Margaret Sylvester Judd
Charles Brockden Brown