061 97 91 88
October 16, 1977
78 Hartley Avenue
Princeton, N.J. 08540
more than a month already since reading your letter! But I wished to await the developments before answering. Here they are:
Mondadori in Italy offers a total of $ 9,000.-for WiC and EiU in a somewhat distinguished pocket book range, but without scientific merit. I shall wait for Garzantis reply regarding PoS before going on with the discussion.
Bertelsmann is now the third serious offer from Germany, and though they propose the same advance as Universitas, and therefore less than Umschau, from 50,000 copies sold we would achieve 15 % instead of 12 %. Their remark about the earlier bad German translations makes me somewhat suspicious about the language they intend to apply: would they emulate the idiom now popular throughout the vast range of Däniken-style books? The contract would initially cover WIC only, all other works falling under an option.
Umschau, the earliest applicant, has additionally agreed to an advance of DM 15,000.- ($ 6,000.-) for WIC, i.e. twice as much as the others. They are also best with initial royalties.
Of course I shall try to better Umschaus proposal by those 15 % after 50,000 copies sold. But I have come to the conclusion, that we should prefer their offer in any case, even in time for WIC being able to appear in spring 1978. I think so mainly for the following reasons:
Their business policies and setup are most suited to our purposes, and the personal engagement in pursuing to obtain your rights has left with me a favourable impression (see also the enclosed reprint about the company).
While the scientific activities are more on the technological side, I think that they are serious enough to make the fact known, that on the Continent at last your books are breaking the barriers put up by the earlier generation of scientific establishment. This may prove valuable against Sagan, etc.
Even at 12 % (which I hope to improve), the break-even point in royalties will come at 65,000 hardcover copies sold - a figure that may be achieved by WIC only within a reasonable period of time.
We shall have the advantage to chose the best offer for pocket editions among a number of competitors; Bertelsmann, of course, would consider but their own Goldman Taschenbücher.
Though none of the publishers will consider a title without options to the rest, Umschau has agreed to publish besides WiC also AiC and PoS in very reasonable time by autumn 78. The others obviously are putting off publishing depending on the success of WIC
I am glad that according to Mr. Curths, Umschau will not follow the current trend in Germany of publishing historical quasi Nazi books; and they will also not go into sex literature.
I find it most difficult to believe in Mr. Vicinanzas figures. I am quite sure that the large German publishers having made an offer have not been cheating on us; and after considering the not so very fantastic offer by the Italian publisher, I just cannot imagine other language areas providing the difference to make up the amounts estimated by Mr. Vicinanza. Also, neither in German nor in French can I find traces of a Sagan book that might lead publishers to enter into contracts for a new title of his in the range indicated. For certain, I shall always assist if Merediths bring up a proposal on such an unusual scale, and if it is in our interest; but I would not like activities of theirs to hinder serious developments.
Therefore, I would like to finalize with Umschau toward the end of this month. Please telegraph or call if you feel I should not do so. I think, however, that since April we have achieved a satisfactory beginning on the Continent.
Now I would like to sign the agreements with Umschau already in the name of the Velikovsky Institute I have been proposing earlier. Have you thought on this? If you agree in principle I would then sign a preliminary go-ahead agreement with the necessary provisions.
Even if we could not reach agreement about the Institute I have planned to invest as much as necessary of the 20 % into establishing a European base for taking care of the scholarly developments I expect from the new German editions. Of foremost importance I still consider to be the microfilming and indexing of your archives. I have available a follower of yours, experienced in this job, willing to undertake this work during next summer, against travelling and simple living expenses. With Kodak I can arrange for the necessary apparatus here and on your side.
By separate mail I am sending you a book by Prof. Dr. Max Thürkauf, a scholar at Basel University, who as a nuclear physicist has for moral reasons and as an opponent to evolution theory waived his ordinary professorship. He is about my age, I have asked him whether he knew your work, and he has invited me to make a personal contact next month. I would like him to consider a possibility of inviting you for a lecture in case you do come over for Glasgow, and to which perhaps Prof. Heinsohn (have you ever written to him?), and perhaps Dr. Zvi Rix, with whom I have correspondence now, might also be able to contribute. Together with efforts by Umschau and a PR build-up throughout the winter season we might be able to achieve an event of importance.
Your offer to try using my chart in Ramses is most kind and pleasing. I should have started long ago to translate it into English, but now I have seriously started on it and you shall have it sometime during November.
As soon as we are clear with Umschau I will take steps to help their PR with your story, also offering to have lectures throughout Germany, Austria and Switzerland. We have already talked about such efforts, and I shall be ready enough with articles for journals such as Der Spiegel.
I am most confidently looking forward to our second season!
With kind and friendly regards, yours
PS: Please do arrange for the American copies of EiU, I shall return the Gollancz copies. At the same time I am asking for some further copies of PoS at Sidgwick. Could you also get me some of the Pocket Book copies?