YOU WON’T FIND W.G. HILL ON ANY BEST SELLER LISTS,THE MILLIONAIRE’S FAVORITE AUTHOR Articles BUT IT’S HARD TO FIND A MILLIONAIRE WHO HASN’T READ MOST OF HIS $100 “SPECIAL REPORTS”.
Hill’s Low Profile — The name W.G. Hill isn’t bandied around much in the book-publishing world. No literary society has ever discussed any of the two dozen or so volumes this author has produced. But over the last thirty years, in the world of bankers, accountants, high net worth investors and financiers with offshore interests, Hill has been a seminal influence.
His most famous book is P.T., or “Perpetual Tourist.” Though this title might convey the idea that it’s a book about traveling, it isn’t. The subject is, how wealthy people can – with proper paperwork – enjoy life more. Its “How to have a good time with your money, but at the same time avoid unwelcome attentions that conspicuous consumption and high profile wealth always bring.” These negatives include the unwelcome intrusions of tax collectors, insurance salesman, contingent fee plaintiff’s lawyers, alimony seeking ex-wives, kidnappers, burglars. Not to mention every description of con-man.
Do these matters concern millionaires? Judging from Hill’s book sales, they do, indeed. The original Hill (who could not be found for an interview – EW hears he’s in Patagonia doing hands-on research on female female gaucho wranglers – was back in the 1970’s a self-publisher who advertised his books as “Special Reports” in the London based Economist and play oman International Herald Tribune. One of his early fans was the newsletter guru, Sir Harry Schultz, who must have made enough beforehand or sold enough books to live well. Sir Harry writes in PT, “I spent my first few years as a tax exile at the Monte Carlo Beach Hotel, interacting with hard-bodied, high maintenance cost divorced women who in their topless bikinis populated Riviera pool sides like motes in the sunshine.”
Hill’s books always offered his personal services to assist any reader to accomplish the goals set out. For instance, his 1975 Lloyd’s Report promised the reader would “make serious money without any investment, work or risk.” This was two decades before many Lloyd’s names did in fact suffer substantial losses. But Hill wrote later, “If people handled their Lloyd’s relationships as I suggested (with stop loss insurance) they came out way ahead.” Hill charged a hefty fee to introduce new names and get them into Lloyd’s as insurance underwriters.
Eventually, around 1985 Hill’s maneuvers were picked up and thereafter published by Nicholas Pine. Pine was then operating as Milestone Press of Plymouth, England. He was a very minor publisher of books for collectors of ceramics. Their typical press run in the pre-Hill days was a thousand copies. With Hill’s books for millionaires soon selling like hot cakes, Milestone hit pay dirt. Pine changed his company’s name to Scope International. An ex-employee revealed that at the time he quit, sales of well over 100,000 copies of each Hill book would have been “a low ballpark figure.” With ten books being major sellers and a direct mail price of £60 / $100 per book, that means that gross sales of Hill’s books passed the 100 million dollar mark some years ago. As marketers who sell direct via advertising and junk-mail that means most revenues go direct to the bottom line. Although book sales figures are not available to the public (through bookstores), this could mean that little known Scope, by publishing the works of a mystery man who disappeared ten years ago, is far and away, the world’s most profitable book publisher.