Memories and bad math from Menaker’s life in the publishing business, excerpted from his memoir My Mistake:

“We make about $3 for each hardcover sale, $1 for each paperback.”

“So if we sell 10,000 hardcovers, that’s $30,000.”


“And say 10,000 paperbacks. That’s $40,000.”

“Right—so the P-and-L probably won’t work. So we have to adjust the figures. But remember, you can’t change the returns percentage.”

“Increase the first printing to 15,000 and the second printing to 7,500?”

“That ought to do it. Isn’t this scientific?”