RARA-AVIS: Re: Jim Thompson: Where'd He Go?

From: davezeltserman (Dave.Zeltserman@gmail.com)
Date: 19 Feb 2010

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    --- In rara-avis-l@yahoogroups.com, Kevin Burton Smith <kvnsmith@...> wrote:
    > That figure can't be right, can it? Or else Thompson was even worse at business than we ever suspected. If they were selling millions (millions!) of copies of his books back in the forties and fifties, why was he pretty much forgotten until the mid-to-late eighties -- and why did he end up with such lousy, mostly paperback-only publishers for much of his career?
    Kevin, Spillane was also supposed to have sold in the millions, and how many copies of his books would you find in used bookstores? I know I didn't find many when I used to go hunting at used bookstores around Boston and Cambridge in the mid to late 70s--and I was looking for them!

    For Thompson, what kind of royalties would he have gotten for a mass market paperback back then? $.05 a copy? A million copies would've netted a nice little sum of $50K? Anyway, I think I read that in one in an introduction, or maybe the Sleep with the Devil biography. I'm not sure. If I can find the reference again, I'll provide it here.

    Anyway, he certainly had some attention here with Sam Peckinpah making The Getaway in '72, and his being cast in the '75 version of Farewell My Lovely, as well as his collaborations with Stanley Kubrick, so I don't think he was quite the unknown that you're attempting to paint him as.


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