Bram Stoker's Dracula was released in 1897 to mixed reviews, with some critics considering the subject matter too repulsive for casual readers. During Stoker's life Dracula never sold well, and there's no evidence that Stoker himself thought the book was remarkable in any way. For a novel that would become one of the most popular works in literature, Dracula received a shockingly inauspicious debut, and that disinterest would last for over twenty years.
Soon after the publication of Dracula, the Lyceum Theatre went into a financial spiral as tastes in entertainment changed in London, and Sir Henry Irving's health began to fail. By 1899, six years prior to his death in 1905, Irving turned the theater over to a business syndicate. Stoker continued writing novels, and managed to eke out a moderate living from book sales, but
Florence Stoker's financial situation changed dramatically after she sold the film rights to Universal Studios for their 1931 production of Dracula. Although the estimated $40,000 she received for the rights may seem paltry by today's standards, the truth is that Florence Stoker got lucky. When Bram Stoker filed for copyright protection in the United States. for Dracula in 1897, he failed to deliver the required two copies to the U.S. Copyright Office as required by law. Technically, Dracula has been in the public domain in America since it was first released, and no permission from Florence Stoker would've ever been required.