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To My Sons
Went Away

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Movies
(Introduction)
1916, Eyes

1919, Shepherd
1924, Man
1924, Mine
1925, Son Father 
1925. Brian K
1926, Barb W
1928, Shepherd
(1928, Lights)
1930, Eyes
1935, When Man
1936,  Matthews
1936, The Mine
1936, Wild Brian
1937, West  Gold
1937, Out West
1937, Secret Vly
1937, Californian
1941, Shepherd
1949, Massacre
1959, Shep (TV)
1964, Shepherd

Locations
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Lebanon
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Escondido
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In Depth
Kinkead
Markham Review

Mike O'Brien
Tucson Library

UCLA Library

Princeton Library

Indiana U. Libr.

E Clampus Vitus
Bittersweet
Manuscripts

Sales

 


Record of Sales of Harold Bell Wright Books


Click on Pictures to Enlarge

On March 5, 2006 the Wright family, Michael, Peter and Marcie loaned me the book pictured on the left, "Harold Bell Wright - Record of Publications," a later book, nearly identical, and a large box of royalty statements and summaries detailing the number of sales for all of Harold Bell Wright's books, except the last one -- The Man Who Went Away. (Sales figures for To My Sons and Ma Cinderella are not included in the summaries, but can be gleaned from the royalty statements.)
In 1942, when Frank Luther Mott was doing research for his book, "Golden Multitudes: The Story of Best Sellers in the United States" (Macmillan, 1947), he asked Wright for accurate sales figures for his best selling books. Mott says, "The report [Wright] furnished was of 1932, but he pointed out that 'sales during the depression years1933-1941, while I have not been writing, have been small.'" Mott says Wright's 1932 report had been prepared by a certified public accountant from his royalty statements.

Evidently the 1932 summary sent to Mott is the same one shown here and was the last summary Wright's CPA prepared for him. When Mott published his book in 1947 he included some updated figures (or estimates) that bring the total to over 10 million copies, rather than the 8.8 million shown in the 1932 report. Most of those additional sales were from books written before 1925.

 

SUMMARY -- PRODUCTION
MAY 12, 1903 -- DECEMBER 31, 1932
DETAIL BY TITLES

 

No. Copies

Amount Dramatization Pictures Serial Total
"That Printer of Udell's" [1903] 444,850 $16,232.52 $  1,848.05      $18,080.57
"The Shepard (sic) of the Hills" [1907] 1,091,309 48,163.40 22,785.66 $2177.10   73,126.16
"The Calling of Dan Mathews" (sic) [09] 1,075,099 49,724.44 2,372.09     52,096.53
"The Uncrowned King" [1910] 109,963 7,315.19       7,315.19
"The Winning of Barbara Worth" [1911] 1,615,444 95,705.86 3,716.22   447.13 99,869.21
"Their Yesterdays" [1912] 515,467 41,616.32       41,616.32
"The Eyes of the World" [1914] 912,062 74,860.17   11,890.56   86,750.73
"When A Man's A Man" [1916] 945,666 91,792.26       91,792.26
"The Recreation of Brian Kent" [1919] 702,043 88,884.08       88,884.08
"Helen of the Old House" [1921] 446,503 89,566.57     196.13 89,762.70
"The Mine With the Iron Door" [1923] 424,331 72,394.58   50,000 72.75 122,467.33
"Son of His Father" [1925] 268,370 44,171.14   75,000 50,000.00 169,171.14
"God and the Groceryman" [1927] 198,865 31,567.75     50,000.00 81,567.75
"Long Ago Told" [1929] 4,257 587.66       587.66
"Exit" [1930] 48,927 12,404.87     16,500.00 28,904.87
"The Devil's Highway" [1932] 9,639 2,482.65       2,482.65
"Ma Cinderella" [1932]         25,000.00 25,000.00
No Title 15,000 450.00       450.00

    Totals

8,827,795 $767,919.46 $30,722.02 $139,067.66 $142,216.01 $1,079,925.15

(Information from Later Royalty Statements)

Ma Cinderella [1932] 27,451 $ 3,795.44       $ 3,795.44
To My Sons [1934] 1,798 352.67       352.67
The Man Who Went Away [1942]            

 

SUMMARY -- BOOK SALES
MAY 12, 1903  --  DECEMBER 31, 1932
DETAIL BY YEARS

 

SUMMARY -- BOOK SALES
MAY 12, 1903  --  DECEMBER 31, 1932
DETAIL BY EDITIONS

Year No. Copies Amount Edition No. Copies Amount
1903 11,447 $ 1,180.87 Regular -- United States 2,977,918 $ 534,844.12
1904 5,049 631.12 Regular -- Canada 151,065 11,815.45
1905 4,499 562.35 Reprints 5,596,934 213,442.48
1906 489 253.66 English Colonial 91,140 5,285.59
1907 62,666 8,999.90 London 2,997 541.81
1908 22,152 3,114.50 Others 7,741 1,990.01
1909 252,366 20,586.04              TOTALS 8,827,795 $ 767,919.46
1910 465,811 20,605.08    
1911 570,602 48,232.81
1912 1,138,284 69,565.38
1913 1,118,810 36,364.70
1914 416,594 51,558.01
1915 211,458 10,380.79

SUMMARY -- ALL PRODUCTIONS
MAY 12, 1903  --  DECEMBER 31, 1932


1916 686,396 72,967.99
1917 165,344 8,751.62
1918 260,068 7,976.78
1919 845,235 91,153.77 Books: (8,827,795 copies)    
Subtotal 6,237,270 $ 452,884.37      All Editions $767,919.46  
1920 556,233 19,385.89      Dramatizations 30,722.02  
1921 464,492 78,581.57      Pictures 139,067.66  
1922 67,386 4,310.65      Serials 142,216.01  
1923 164,185 13,741.54      Translations 504.78  
1924 316,939 67,552.81                Total   1,080,429.93
1925 267,279 17,291.15 Misc. Articles, Short Stories   25,911.00
1926 192,934 43,030.42 Songs   8.13
1927 198,132 13,827.21

               Total - All1

  $ 1,106,349.06
1928 135,463 28,433.52

 

1 Does not include the sum of $9000.00 received in 1932 from Harper Bros. Co.  -- as advance royalty.

1929 122,284 9,051.05
1930 84,638 16,087.21
1931 7,854 924.20
1932 12,706 2,817.87
TOTAL 8,827,795 $ 767,919.46

Notes:

 1. Sales Royalties -- The figures in Wright's records show the number of books sold and the royalties he received. To find the number of copies printed, we would probably have to find the Book Supply Company, Appleton and Harpers files. But that doesn't mean there might be thousands more unsold "remainder" copies that were sold for a few pennies each. That did sometimes happen, but the sales figures shown above include small royalties from the sales of "remainders."

 2. Regular editions were those editions for which Wright received full royalties -- apparently all the editions printed by the original publisher. It is not possible to distinguish first editions from Wright's records, at least not from the records I have seen.

 3. Canadian regular editions were printed under the name, "Musson." Wright received full royalties. The Wright family says the printing plates for Ma Cinderella include title plates with publishers names that are not Harper and Brothers. I assume one of those names is Musson. From that, and the fact that for some titles very small numbers (single digits) of foreign editions were sometimes sold, it appears that Canadian editions were printed in the U.S.

 4. Reprints were the copies printed by A. L. Burt, Grosset and Dunlap and many other reprint companies. In the records they are usually referred to as "Cheap Editions." Wright received royalties of about 3 cents from reprints, instead of the 15-30 cents he received for regular editions.

 5. British Editions -- It looks like Wright was paid about 18 cents for every copy of the London Edition sold, but only about 5.5 cents for English Colonial. Hodder and Stoughton is mentioned as publishing the "English Cheap Editions," but is also mentioned as printing the Regular editions. In some reports the term "Australian or Colonial Edition" is used.

 6. Other editions included editions sold in China, Manila (Philippines), India and Sweden.

 7. Translations -- Wright was paid royalties for rights to translate into Scandinavian, Swedish, Norwegian, Dutch, and Czecho-Slovakian. Most of these were probably never translated or produced, although Swedish was, and others may have been.

 8. Songs - The one royalty statement I found for music or songs is dated September 1, 1934 to August 31, 1935. The song titles are "Till I Come Back to You" (for Vio. & Cello Obl), and "Over the Skyline." Two copies were sold during that time period. The royalty was 3 cents each. I don't know what Wright's relationship was to these songs. It appears the musicians may have used two of his poems, or words from his novels, as lyrics for songs that never hit the pop charts.

9. Today copies of The Man Who Went Away are less common than Ma Cinderella, more common than Long Ago Told, and about as common as The Devil's Highway. It is probably safe to estimate about 8,000 to 10,000 were sold.

 

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This Harold Bell Wright web site is written and produced by Gerry Chudleigh with the help of many friends.
Copyright 2000-May, 2011 by Gerry Chudleigh
Last updated 05/26/11