March 22, 1972
My dear Bali-mardana,
Please accept my blessings. I have received your letter of March 11, 1972, along with copy of MacMillan contract. Now, first thing is don't sign any contracts without hearing from me, I am thinking about the matter. There is some opinion that it may not be very much advantageous for us to enter such contracts with Macmillan Company. But first I want to know the opinion of Karandhara and others like Rupanuga and Bhagavan. So far Bhagavad-gita As It Is, that is already signed, so we must continue as we have agreed. But practically we have increased our book distribution now to exceed what they are able to do, and still we shall have to purchase our books from them at 50%, and because we shall account for most of the sales, plus do most of the advertising ourselves, then they are making huge profit while we do the work! This arrangement is not good. But one thing is, because they have published our book, therefore there is some prestige in that. Now if you can induce them to distribute very profusely our Bhagavad-gita As It Is, by giving it big big publicity at their expense, then it is only fair and the agreement is all right. Another thing is that they must pay us for all the lay-out and pre-press work that we have done on the Gita, otherwise we are simply handing them everything while they take all the profits and we get nothing. So on the whole I am not very hopeful for dealing with this Macmillan Company, or any other big publishing house. I have seen in New York many many big big publishing houses, very rich, but I do not find any rich writers of books. Even Jawaharlal Nehru wrote some book on politics which became very widely known, but he remarked that their books are selling like anything but I'm not getting anything.
Another thing, because our business is to engage many men in the devotional service of Krsna, then if we give the job to others for distributing all our books, then where is the opportunity for our students to canvass all the citizens to purchase our books to give them good training how to preach? I think Macmillan wants "exclusive" rights to distribute, but we must be allowed to sell our own books, otherwise where is the preaching? So do not sign any more contracts until I have considered the matter thoroughly. If we purchase their books at 50%, then they must also purchase our books at 50%, and we must have the right to sell any amount, and we must be reimbursed for the amount we have spent preparing the Bhagavad-gita As It Is manuscripts and picture-pages.
I have just now noticed in the clause no. 6 that it appears we are allowed to distribute by "direct distribution through non-book-trade outlets," so it appears the contract is all right because we have not got much to do with bookstores anyway, so I have no strong objection to this contract. Let us try it as an experiment.
Hoping this will meet you in good health.