On this date in 1926, the first Book of the Month Club selection was published.
Here are some things you might not have known about it.
The Book of the Month Club was founded by Harry Scherman in New York. Scherman had earlier success selling a collection of 30 leather-bound books for just under $3. Over the course of five years, he sold more than 40 million copies.
The club was started as a way to introduce new books to readers. Scherman saw the club as a way to become a tastemaker or what he called a “standard brand.” This would lead to people buying whichever books were selected, based on the trust they had in the club.
The first selection was “Lolly WIllowes; or The Loving Huntsman” by Sylvia Townsend Warner. It was sent out to the club’s 4,000 subscribers.
One of the club’s selections in the first year was “The Sun Also Rises” by Ernest Hemingway. In its 10th year, the club selected a then-unknown novel by Margaret Mitchell called “Gone With The Wind.” Partly as a result of that selection, “Gone with the Wind” would go on to be made into the highest-grossing film of all time, when adjusted for inflation. The book finished second to the Bible as the most popular book in the United States in a 2014 poll.
After 20 years, the club had more than a half a million subscribers.
In 1951, the club sent out its 100 millionth book, which was a copy of “The Catcher in the Rye” by J.D. Salinger.
In its early days, the club worked as a negative response system. Similar to later record and CD clubs, members had the option to decline a month’s selection, but they would receive the selection automatically if they didn’t respond. It now operates as a box subscription service. Memberships are sold based on a set number of months.
Our question: The novel “The Sun Also Rises” is set largely in what country?
Today is Harriet Tubman Day and National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day in the United States.
It’s unofficially International Bagpipe Day, Landline Telephone Day, and National Blueberry Popover Day.
It’s the birthday of actor Chuck Norris, who is 77; actor Jon Hamm, who is 46; and singer Carrie Underwood, who is 34.
This week in 1984, the top song in the U.S. was “Jump” by Van Halen.
The No. 1 movie was “Footloose,” while the novel “Pet Sematary” by Stephen King topped the New York Times Bestsellers list.
Now for our weekly question: For which book, later turned into a movie, did James Michener win the 1948 Pulitzer Prize for fiction?
The answer and correct respondents are in today’s podcast.
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