hat what an outsider would think, but he once again changed his mind, "Even if you could take away the ban, you can’t just eliminate competition by trashing their stores; it’s like slapping them in the face. Chasing those middle-aged women off the streets of the capital and prohibiting their stores is a foul method. Even if you earn money, there will be retaliation, and nobody wins." Fan Xian retorted.
"So what?" Fan Sizhe rolled his eyes; he felt like his older brother was like a woman. "If you feel like our reputation is at stake, then we can simply set rules to follow. If the other bookstores continue to pirate the book, we can let the court handle them."
Fan Xian howled in laughter, "Rules?! You think the government would treat the law like child's play and change it just because we are publishing a book?"
Fan Sizhe shook his head, "How can we change the law? We will take a shortcut instead. Changing the garrison regulations is simple. The crazy old lady from the Ye Zhong family is quite close to princess Ruojia; we just asked our sister to ask Jing palace to give word to Ye mansion, and it’s sorted."
Fan Xian was interested, "The garrison regulations of the capital have to do with the selling of books too?" he asked.
Fan Sizhe stopped to think about the question, "I think there are a couple rules about civilian businesses that we can put to good use."
Fan Xian was utterly impressed at the boy in front of him, who had promising potential to be a corrupt merchant who plucked ideas out of thin air like making deals with government officials and having his own personal gang trashing his competition. However, expectation always looked better than reality. "Have you calculated the profit yet?"
"There are ten chapters per book, with each book sold for eight silver taels, and there are sixty-eight chapters in total. The population of the capital is 640,000, so let's say we sell a book for every one thousand people, that's more than 600 copies sold. Careful calculation reveals that it would be a total earning of 35,840 silver taels." Fan Sizhe relished in all he explained, as he had long prepared these calculations beforehand and knew them off by heart. "The rent on Loudong Road is a little expensive when added to the production cost. We can leave Wanjuan Tang to handle the publication, as it would take some weight off our shoulders."
"Wanjuan Tang?" Fan Xian questioned curiously.
"It’s the most famous private publishing company in the capital." Fan Sizhe smiled dubiously. "It’s a big family business, but there’s no powerful figure behind them. If they tried betraying us, we could just steal their business. The only thing we’ll have to worry about is making even more money."
Fan Xian was so appalled he was ready to cough up blood.
"My calculations show that we can at least earn a couple thousand taels, and if other bookstores end up closing, our numbers will only go up."
Fan Xian sighed and said, "You’re too positive. To be a successful merchant, you have to be prepared for many possibilities. Take your estimated income, for example: Even though the people of the capital are well off, do you really think they can afford to pay fifty odd silver taels just for a set of books?"
Fan Sizhe was surprised, looking at Fan Xian like an alien before saying, "You really have no idea how well your story is doing on the market?"
Fan Xian’s eyes widened. He knew that Dream of the Red Chamber was popular in his world during the Qianlong era and remembered seeing on the news that a limited handwritten version was sold for over 100 silver grains. How could they sell it at such an expensive price if they were printing in mass?
Fan Sizhe sighed and said, "These days, I’ve heard that Miss Fucheng from the Fucheng family was left in a state after reading the book. She could not eat or drink, and she stares into the air. Mistress Fucheng burned the books in frustrations, which made Miss Fucheng cry in agony, ‘Why did you burn my treasure.’ She has not quite recovered from it. The capital is a city full of government officials and how many rich girls do you think have nothing to do all day? Selling hundreds and thousands of books is far from a problem."
Fan Xian was flabbergasted. He was unsure whether or not he should bring desserts to pay Miss Fucheng a visit in order to comfort her.