Dewey B. Larson
755 N.E. Royal Court
Portland, Oregon 97232
May 21, 1981
Mr. Jan N. Sammer
78 Hartley Ave.
Princeton, N. J. 08540
Dear Mr. Sammer:
The fact that the North Pacific Publishers do not expect to reprint any older books does not necessarily mean that they will not be reprinted. The publication of highly specialized works of this kind is not a profitable undertaking. My books sell from 1000 to 2000 copies. This is reasonably good for books of this nature, which average less than 1000, according to reports from the University Presses. But sales of at least 5000 copies are necessary in order to break even financially. It follows that such books cannot be published unless a subsidy of some kind is available. Ordinarily, the subsidy is provided by some agency such as a university, a foundation, or the government. None of these is available to an unorthodox work such as mine. Nor do I have access to any individual “angels” . I have put all of the personal funds that I can spare into other aspects of the work. What has had to be done thus far, therefore, is to rely on subsidies in the form of volunteer work to handle the aspects of publishing and sales other than book manufacture.
The North Pacific Publishers are one such group of volunteers. Their interest is in helping to get my ideas published. They are not scientists, and they take the attitude (understandably, I think) that after they get a book into print, it is up to the scientific community to carry the ball from then on. They would be quite willing to reprint if the demand were adequate, but under the circumstances, where reprinting is just as speculative as publication of a new book, they prefer to concentrate on new publications.
New Light on Space and Time was reprinted by the California group that will host the 1981 NSA Conference. The NPP is selling the books to its retail customers as a courtesy to the California people, but the price they have to pay for them is too high to permit accepting orders at wholesale prices. Thus these books are not available for transactions with dealers like Corliss. However, they will still be available from the NPP or from the California group, at least until the stock is exhausted.
It is not unlikely that further reprint projects of this kind will be undertaken by individuals associated with the NSA, in which case New Light on Space and Time will no doubt be kept alive, and The Case Against the Nuclear Atom may be resurrected. Publication of new books is becoming more difficult because of increased costs and reduction of purchases by libraries, but we are working on this problem, and will discuss it at the NSA conference in August.
I am not inclined to take much stock in the reports of cosmic rays coming from supernova remnants. The origin of cosmic rays is one of the problems currently facing the astronomers for which they have no answers. The supernovae are phenomena that they still do not understand. So there is a general tendency to try to connect the two. But this kind of thing is an act of desperation, as some investigators have admitted, resorting to wild surmises in the hope that something might ring a bell.