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Letter 279

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The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien
Letter 279
RecipientMichael George Tolkien
DateOctober 30, 1965
Subject(s)Staying in Oxford, financial situation, campaign against Ace Books

Letter 279 is a letter written by J.R.R. Tolkien and published in The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien.

Summary

Tolkien told his grandson that it was unlikely that they would move from Oxford. Anything near the sea was too expensive. He was not "rolling in gold" but by continuing to work he had an income a margin above his needs. Without the good fortune of his "unprofessional" work he would be eking out a penurious existence on one-quarter pay. An author who sold any rights sees his proceeds taxed as income, unlike other property. He could not afford the thousands needed for a flat or bungalow near the sea.

On the income front things went well. Ace Books has sold many pirate editions, but it was being discovered to be badly and erroneously printed, causing many institutions to ban their products. The rumpus provided free advertising and Tolkien expected that the "authorised" paper-back would sell more copies because of it.