Edward William Bok > The Americanization of Edward Bok > Page 155

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


Page 155

and easier access given to periodicals prove this point. Now and then there has been tried an unsupported or not well-thought-out plan for bringing books to a public not now reading them, but there seems little or no understanding of the fact that there lies an uncultivated field of tremendous promise to the publisher who will strike out on a new line and market his books, so that the public will not have to ferret out a book-store or wind through the maze of a department store. The American reading public is not the book-reading public that it should be or could be made to be; but the habit must be made easy for it to acquire. Books must be placed where the public can readily get at them. It will not, of its own volition, seek them. It did not do so with magazines; it will not do so with books.

In the meanwhile, Bok’s literary letter had prospered until it was now published in some forty-five newspapers. One of these was the Philadelphia Times. In that paper, each week, the letter had been read by Mr. Cyrus H. K. Curtis, the owner and publisher of The Ladies’ Home Journal. Mr. Curtis had decided that he needed an editor for his magazine, in order to relieve his wife, who was then editing it, and he fixed upon the writer of Literary Leaves as his man. He came to New York, consulted Will Carleton, the poet, and found that while the letter was signed by William J. Bok, it was actually written by his brother who was with the Scribners. So he sought Bok out there.

The publishing house had been advertising in the Philadelphia magazine, so that the visit of Mr. Curtis was not an occasion for surprise. Mr. Curtis told Bok

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