It's about the

It's always been about the money. An AA Comes of Age extract....

…Meanwhile Henry and I were perfecting our plan. It would take a persuasive prospectus to induce alcoholics to part with their money for stock in a company that had not yet produced even one book. But the more we investigated, the better the proposition looked. We went to Edward Blackwell, the president of Cornwall Press, one of the largest printers in the United States. Here we discovered that the printing cost of an average-size book is only about 10 per cent of its retail price. A 400-page volume could be printed for only a fraction of a dollar. If we were to price our new book at $3.50, as Henry and I figured it, this would be practically all net profit. There would be no bookstore commission, no paid advertising, and none of the usual losses that publishers had to take on books that did not sell. Our book of course would sell, and we could not fail to clean up. It looked too good to be true.

I laid this information before the next Trustees' meeting.I anticipated that the reaction would be bad, and it certainly was. To flatly disagree with these wonderful friends was the toughest possible assignment. Once more the Trustees' meeting adjourned without agreement. I knew we would have to go through with the deal despite all the objections. It was depressing.

But Henry was not depressed. He had been sitting up nights working on a prospectus. The main arguments were these: Harper had said the book was going to be a good one. And even if we paid our groups and outside bookstores a dollar a book for distribution there would still be a whopping profit margin. The book could be printed at very low cost and sold for $2.50 wholesale or $3.50 by mail order. And when the reviews and other publicity got rolling, we were certain there would be sales by the carload.
The prospectus suggested that a company be formed with stock of $25 par value. The New York alcoholics and their friends could buy

one-third of these shares for cash. The other two-thirds would be distributed between Henry and me for our work. To mollify the Trustees it was decided that the author's royalty which would ordinarily be mine could go to the Alcoholic Foundation. To the prospectus Henry attached a chart which showed the estimated profits on sales of 100,000, 500,000, and even a million books! I have now forgotten just what his hopes were, but they were fantastic. I was not quite so optimistic, but I did feel sure that the proceeds of the book would enable several of us to become full-time workers and to set up a general headquarters for our society. Whether this worked out or not, I was nevertheless convinced that our fellowship ought to own and control its own literature.

Our enterprise still lacked two essentials. It was not incorporated and it did not have a name. Henry took care of these matters. Since the forthcoming volume would be only the first of many such "works," he thought our publishing company should be called," Works Publishing, Inc." This was all right with me, but I protested that we had no incorporation on which to base shares and that incorporation would take money. Next day I found that Henry had bought a pad of blank stock certificates in a stationery store, and across the top of each certificate was typed this legend: "Works Publishing, Inc., par value $25.00." At the bottom there was a signature: "Henry P. - President." When I protested these irregularities, Henry said there was no time to waste; why be concerned with small details?
So the great enterprise was launched. It remained to be seen if it would float, Henry knew every stratagem of the super-salesman, and he got right down to work. He descended like a whirlwind on the New York alcoholics and some of their friends, suggesting that they take stock in the glittering new venture. I was no second-rater at this sort of thing myself, and I followed right along.
Well, we did not sell even one of our proposed 6oo shares of Works Publishing, cheap as we claimed it was. The New York alcoholics said, "You fellows have certainly got nerve. What made you think

that we would buy stock in a book not yet written?" But Henry was not discouraged. He still had ideas. "Bill," he said, "you and I know this book is going to sell. And Harper thinks it will sell. But these New York drunks just do not believe it. Some take it as a joke, and the rest talk high and holy about mixing a spiritual enterprise with money and promotion. But if they really did think that the book would sell, they would buy the stock all right, and fast. So why don't we go up and see The Reader's Digest people and find out if they will print a piece about our fellowship and this book? If the Digest runs an article about us, we will sell those books by the carloads. Anybody can see that, even these tightwad drunks. So what are we waiting for? Let's go! "