“Jack’s Business” Gresham’s Latest Report

The Lewis Legacy-Issue 75, Winter 1998 The C. S. Lewis Foundation for Truth in Publishing

On 14 March Douglas Gresham (who lives in Ireland now) announced to the MERELEWIS E-mail group:

“I have been away lately in London on Jack’s business, and one of the projects we discussed at a meeting with Harper Collins, was the possibility of putting out a Collector’s Limited Edition of the Chronicles of Narnia. This would be a numbered, single volume edition, incorporating all the original Pauline Baynes illustrations that she has just finished hand-colouring for us, richly bound, in top quality leather with gilt edges and so on and signed by Pauline herself if she is willing.

“Now it will not be possible to produce this book for less than a great deal of money, but the more people who offer to buy it, the lower the price would go. It would start at a minimum print run of 150 books at a purchase price of 350 sterling [$580], and I would hope that if we can get more people interested the price would come down to around 300. In any case this will be a one-time only print run and if we can get it to happen at all, it will never happen again. Thus these volumes will be increasing in value from the time they are purchased.

“If anyone is interested in this project, please let me know by personal Email, because HarperCollins are not prepared to chance it if they do not have an assured market for the book. It would make a wonderful family heirloom, as the books would be bound to last for a very long time even with regular reading.”

Gresham added later that he is willing to autograph copies. “If you can imagine a hand-made luxury sports car, custom-built for a specific customer, like a Morgan +8 for example, this would be the literary equivalent. I have my own name down for numbers 1-5 for each of my children. I have started saving already just in case we can [arouse] enough interest to get it produced.”