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A comparative roundup of book clubs new and old

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Here is a capsule listing of a cross section of active clubs. Readers should write them directly for further information. All clubs use negative option (explained above) unless otherwise indicated. Shipping costs are extra except as noted. GENERAL INTEREST

* Book-of-the-Month Club, 485 Lexington Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10017. Est. 1926. All categories of nonfiction and fiction. Fifteen bulletins yearly: 1 main , 15 alternate selections; 700 backlist titles annually. Minimum purchase usually 4 books, no time limit. Discounts 10 to 20 percent. Prices $8.95 to $15. 95; average $13.95.

* Literary Guild of America, Garden City, N.Y. 11530. Est. 1926. Current fiction, nonfiction. Often club editions scaled-down from publishers'. Fourteen bulletins yearly: 2 main, 100 alternate selections; yearly backlist and discounts not disclosed. Minimum purchase usually 4 books, no time limit. Prices $6.95 to $17.95; average $11.95.

* Preferred Choice Bookplan, One Park Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10016. Est. 1979 . Fiction, nonfiction. Occasionally club editions scaled down from publishers'. Fifteen bulletins yearly: 1 main, 10 to 13 alternate selections; over 500 backlist titles annually. No minimum purchase required. Discounts 30 percent. Prices $10 to $25; average $12 to 15. PAPERBACKS

* Quality Paperback Book Club, Middletown, Pa. 17057. Est. 1974. Fiction and nonfiction paperbacks. Some books available only through club (45 this year). Fifteen bulletins yearly: 1 main, 8 or 9 alternate selections; 500 backlist titles annually. No minimum purchase required. Discounts up to 25 percent. Prices $3.95 to $20; average $6.95. CLASSICS

* Library of America, One Lincoln Plaza, New York, N.Y. 10022. Est. 1982. Collected works of classic US authors (Hawthorne, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Whitman on spring list) in uniform slipcase editions of up to 1,500 pages. Priced at $19 .95. Marketing handled by Time-Life Books. Books mailed automatically for 15 days' examination. No minimum purchase required. Jacketed editions (by the Viking Press) available in stores to nonsubscribers at $25. Eight volumes planned for '82. Series could run to 100 volumes.

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