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16   M i ke Sh a t z k i n

had a line of books that anticipated computerized teaching: you read a chunk, you get a question, and a choice of four answers. You turn to a diferent page based on which of the answers you chose, which told you if you were right or wrong and addressed your specifc misunder-standing if you were wrong. Lots of smart stuf!

But then the stock market turned sour. Crowell-Collier stock went down. All the transactions they’d done using the stock for leverage were now jeopardizing management’s control of the company. Ex-penses had to be cut. And the very ambitious Collier Books rollout had to be curtailed.

This meant my father had to fre a lot of people. Although Ray Hagel ofered him a 50% salary increase to stay at the company (and, by this time, Dad was running other divisions, including Brentano’s), Dad took the whole Collier Books thing too personally to consider it. He left and went to McGraw-Hill a few months later.

But here’s the thing talking to Cader made me realize on Thursday. When Dad published 600 new titles a year (more really, because 600 was the number for the rackable paperbacks) at Collier Books, he was increasing the industry output by SIX percent! To put that into context, we’d be talking about a new company today publishing about

TWENTY THOUSAND new titles a year to have an equivalent efect on industry output. I have known this history for a very long time. I have a whole new appreciation for what Dad did in this context. It’s one of those times I wish I could tell him.

From now until May 28, every post will end with a word about my speech at BookExpo at 11 am that morning. Called “Stay Ahead of the Shift: What Product-Centric Publishers Can Do to Flourish in a Community-Centric Web World. ” If you’ll be in NYC that day, please come. Posts between now and then will tell you a bit more.

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