• U.S.

Press: Ways & Means

2 minute read

There are more ways to choke a dog than by feeding it hot butter. There are more ways to increase circulation than by giving away cheap encyclopedias. Last week two U. S. monthlies tried two unusual means of adding to their readership.

Scribner’s, enlarged, redesigned and editorially revamped last October to reach a wider field, has increased its newsstand sales from 6,280 to 69,000 copies per month. Out for larger editorial bear, young Harlan Logan announced in Printers’ Ink last week a stunt familiar to trade publications but radical for such a staid old publishing house as Charles Scribner’s Sons. Beginning in June, Scribner’s will deliver gratis for three months via Western Union 50,000 copies to 50,000 people with annual incomes of $7,500 or more. After the three months are up, Publisher Logan will try another 50,000, then another. Not only does he expect that advertisers will look with favor on this hand-picked slice of kid glove circulation, but he thinks that he will pick up some 5,000 permanent readers from each free list. His goal: 250,000 readers. “The present so-called ‘class’ magazines with small circulations are licked,” says he.

Coronet, the flashy little magazine launched last fall by the publishers of Esquire, put its flashy little radio promotion program on a national hookup out of Manhattan for the first time last week. Critic-Composer Deems Taylor and a band supplied most of the entertainment. While the idea was, where possible, to dramatize Coronet’s, contents, the show’s material was not restricted to this specification. Said NBC’s publicity department: “Deems Taylor is the absolute dictator. . . . He balks at nothing. … He and his musicians and radio actors have interpreted . . . the photograph of a bowl of goldfish . . . four bananas dancing on a piece of wallboard.”

No dancing bananas marked Dictator Taylor’s presentation last week. But there were “re-enactments” of Coronet articles on: the disappearance of the moon, in which a male quartet sang a moon-song medley with grunts substituted for the word moon; how to avoid suicide, in which simulated voices of persons about to kill themselves were broadcasted. Tonic effects included a symphony drowned out by coughers and miscued clappers; an outdoor opera eclipsed by bullfrog croakings, yowls of cats, dogs.

More Must-Reads from TIME

Contact us at letters@time.com