Dewey B. Larson
755 N.E. Royal Court
Portland, Oregon 97232
September 16, 1981
Some four years ago I came across the announcement by a French publisher, La Pensée Universelle, of a prize to be awarded by the Louis Jacot Foundation, with which the publisher is associated. The stated aim of the Foundation, as you can read in the enclosed announcement, is “the encouragement of the birth and exchange of ideas on the evolution of the Universe, its spread, its cause, its mechanism, and its effects in the past, present and future.” The prize was to be awarded at the end of 1977. More recently, trying to think of ways of bringing your work to the attention of the world's scientific community, it occurred to me to write to the publisher for information about their current activities, inquire about the possibility of publishing your books in France, and find out about the 1977 prize. I also sent them, as a sample of your work, “The Mechanism of the Universe” —for this was a theme specifically mentioned in their announcement. My letter was dated July 22. On July 31 they wrote me that they were reading the article, and would give a reply within six to eight weeks. Yesterday I received from them an outline of a projected contract for the publication of the essay (copy enclosed).
The first printing would be 3,000 copies, apparently in a separate little booklet (though I am not sure how they intend. to make 48 printed pages out of 33 typed). As I understand it, they will pay 17,600 francs in three installments as an advance—1/3 on signing of contract; 1/3 when proofs are returned; 1/3 on date of publication. In addition, they will pay 40% on each of the 2900 copies sold commercially; by the time the first printing is sold out this should amount to 27,840 franks, assuming a retail price of 24 fr./copy. On additional printings you would receive 10% up to the 8000th copy sold, and then 15% for all additional copies. At the current rate of 5.7 fr. to the dollar, this would amount to just under $8,000.00 when the first printing is sold out. What the advance by itself would be worth amounts to a little over $3,000.00. But more than the money, if the project really does go through, it would constitute an important opening to Europe, since they mention that they would publicize it on radio and through the press.
There remains the question of the translation. We have the choice of letting them translate it—for which they would take 4,000 fr. from your royalties—or finding some way of doing it ourselves. 4000 fr., which is about $700, seems to me at least double the price for which we could get a quality translation in this country, and I think I could arrange this, if you should wish.
Please let me know how you would like me to handle this matter; also if you need a translation into English of the proposal. If you find all OK, the next step would be to ask for a contract based on the terms outlined.
With all best wishes, and warm regards to Dorothy,