George Braziller, who began his career in books in the 1930s and published such international literary stars as Jean-Paul Sartre and Andre Malraux, died in New York City on March 16. He was 101.
Born in Brooklyn in 1916, Braziller got his first job in publishing at the age of 20; he was a clerk for a remainder book company. It was there that he learned the basics of the book industry. In 1941 he quit, after the company refused to give him a $1 raise, and founded The Book Find Company, which bought and resold remaindered books under a subscription model.
In a 2015 interview with PW, Braziller said the Book Find Company offered “low prices for low-income readers.” Braziller explained the business this way: “I’d buy a remainder for 25¢ and sell it for 50¢.”
Braziller was drafted into the army in 1943 and published his first book, about his artillery unit, while serving in Europe. After the war he returned to New York and to the Book Find Co., which had continued to grow under the management of his wife, Marsha.
Although the Book Find Co., and the Seven Arts Book Club, a similiar company he founded after war, were both flourishing, Braziller said he grew bored with the remainder/book club business and wanted to expand his original publishing. He sold the two companies to Time Life in 1969 for $1 million.
He had founded George Braziller, Inc., earlier, in 1955 and began to publish a long list of critically acclaimed postwar international literary authors. Three of his authors–Claude Simone, Orhan Pamuk and Jean-Paul Sartre–would go on to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. In order to compete against the bigger U.S. houses, Braziller went to Europe to acquire literary titles. He later added art books to his list, publishing acclaimed titles on art history and modern art.
The George Braziller list featured such distinguished authors as Nathalie Sarraute, Janet Frame, Buchi Emecheta, Beryl Bainbridge, Langston Hughes, Carlo Emilio Gadda, Ned Rorem, and Charles Simic.
In 2011, at the age of 95, Braziller retired and turned his publishing house over to his two sons: Michael Braziller (the current publisher) and Joel Braziller. At the age of 99, Braziller published Encounters: My Life in Publishing, a memoir on his life in book publishing. The book was published by the house he founded.