Re: [GAdetection] "Gambling in Fiction" (1912)
- Apologies for going off-topic, but I found this interesting: " ... at roulette, the chances are one to twenty-six ..."
I've read that casinos added the double zero to increase their edge, but this indicates that a hundred years ago, there were significantly fewer numbers on the board. Anybody know anything about this?
--- On Fri, 11/9/12, miketooney49 <miketooney49@...> wrote:
From: miketooney49 <miketooney49@...>
Subject: [GAdetection] "Gambling in Fiction" (1912)
Date: Friday, November 9, 2012, 5:49 PM
Things haven't changed all that much in a hundred years.
'The Outlook,' January 20, 1912:
"According to the New York 'Sun,' more than
fourteen hundred novels were published in this
country last year, of which about thirty secured
a sufficiently wide reading to be regarded as
successful from the publishers' point of view.
"During the past five years the average number
of novels published annually has been one
thousand, and among these the average number
of very successful novels has remained practically
stationary at thirty.
"This does not mean that a large number of stories
have not attained a wide circulation; it means that
only about thirty have gotten into the class of 'big
"The 'Sun' estimates the chances of popular success
in fiction at three per cent, and calls attention to the
fact that at roulette, the chances are one to twenty-
six, or nearly four per cent, and that in the popular
gambling game of poker they are probably higher.
"Looked at from this standpoint, the publishing of
fiction is a highly speculative business, both for the
novelist and for the publisher; and the 'Sun' estimates
that on this basis out of every seven hundred and
fifty manuscripts offered to the publisher, only one
put into type would become what is known in the
trade as a 'seller.'
"It is fortunate that the wisest and most experienced
publisher cannot tell in advance whether a book will
succeed or fail; still more fortunate that, in spite of
the impression to the contrary, there is a considerable
number of publishers who are interested in literature,
and who will publish a book, either in prose or in
verse, of distinct literary quality, whatever they may
think of the chances of success.
"Many of the 'best sellers' disclose on every page
the secret of their popularity; but there are some
which find their way into the hands of a host of
readers and leave no clue behind them for the
critic. Scores of stories are being sold to-day in
this country which are not advertised or known
in the circles of 'good literary society.' They
belong to the nether region of fiction. Their lives
are obscure, uncertain, and usually brief, and they
pass on to unhonored graves; their career is purely
commercial, and, having no souls, the hour of
commercial death marks their total dissolution.
"As a business, not even mining is more purely
speculative than the writing of novels; as an art,
few ventures are more remunerative."
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