PARIS: Hey, at least I’m not putting her on an iceberg and shoving her off to sea, which considering the fact that you can’t find the Shakespeare section without psychic powers yet the CliffsNotes rack practically smacks you in the face on the way in, is totally justified.

CliffsNotes are a series of student study guides started in Nebraska by Clifton Hillegass in 1958, having gained the US rights to a Canadian series published in Toronto. Hillegass and his wife Catherine started the business in their basement with 16 titles on Shakespeare. By 1964, sales of CliffsNotes had reached one million annually, and there are now CliffsNotes for hundreds of works. IDG Books bought CliffsNotes for $14.2 million in 1998, and it has since been acquired several more times.

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