Marketing: The Selling of a Dictionary

In the fusty world of lexicography, new dictionaries are usually introduced with the quiet circumspection generally found in library reading rooms. Though Random House made a stab at mass promotion on its 1966 dictionary, such works rarely generate much publicity. The alltime exception to the rule is the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, which was brought out last September with the kind of hoopla usually reserved for new detergents. In four months, 440,000 copies were marketed. The dictionary became the biggest-selling hard-cover book published in 1969, ahead of Portnoy's...

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