Edward William Bok > The Americanization of Edward Bok > Page 141

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Edward William Bok (1863–1930). The Americanization of Edward Bok. 1921.


Page 141

and yet ingenious trick just about this time played by a young man attached to one of the New York publishing houses. One evening at dinner this chap happened to be in a bookish company when the talk turned to the enthusiasm of the Southern negro for an illustrated Bible. The young publishing clerk listened intently, and next day he went to a Bible publishing house in New York which issued a Bible gorgeous with pictures and entered into an arrangement with the proprietors whereby he should have the Southern territory. He resigned his position, and within a week he was in the South. He made arrangements with an artist friend to make a change in each copy of the Bible which he contracted for. The angels pictured therein were white in color. He had these made black, so he could show that there were black angels as well as white ones. The Bibles cost him just eighty cents apiece. He went about the South and offered the Bibles to the astonished and open-mouthed negroes for eight dollars each, two dollars and a half down and the rest in monthly payments. His sales were enormous. Then he went his rounds all over again and offered to close out the remaining five dollars and a half due him by a final payment of two dollars and a half each. In nearly every case the bait was swallowed, and on each Bible he thus cleared four dollars and twenty cents net!

Running the elevator in the building where a prominent publishing firm had its office was a negro of more than ordinary intelligence. The firm had just published a subscription book on mechanical engineering, a chapter of which was devoted to the construction and operation

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