Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Around the World 3.75 Times with Gone with the Wind

Recently I decided to indulge a little bit act very responsibly and buy a June 1936 copy of Gone with the Wind. I was delighted when it arrived in the mail--not only to have the book in hand, but also to find a very nice note from the seller, saying he hoped I enjoyed my book and, as a thank you for my purchase, he had enclosed in several pictures of Margaret Mitchell, the soundtrack to the movie, and a couple newspaper articles about GWTW. (Apparently, to reference Vivien Leigh's other Academy Award winning performance, you can depend on the kindness of strangers.)

I thought I'd share one of the articles I got with my book, as it struck me as pretty cool. It was apparently published to mark the one-year anniversary of the publication of GWTW (so circa summer 1937) and contains some neat facts about the book's popularity, like by that time it had already:
  • Gone through 35 printings and sold 1.35 million copies
  • Consumed about 88 square miles of paper across all its printings, about four times the size of Manhattan
  • Spanned the global 3.75 times (some 92,000 miles) if the pages from all copies were spread end to end
  • Used 1,600 tons of paper, enough to fill 90 freight cars in a train 2/3 of a mile long
  • Amassed a column 34 inches high if all the copies of the book were stacked vertically in a single pile (yes, the article says inches which I'm about 99.9999% positive is a typo.... 34 inches- impressive!)
  • Required 225,000 sheets of 40x28 coated paper to make jacket covers for all copies
The complete article is below for you to read. Unfortunately, what you see is what you get- there's no date or newspaper listed. Just consider it a somewhat mysterious bit of GWTW memorabilia, passed along from a kind stranger. 

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