Download A History of British Publishing by John Feather PDF

By John Feather

This complete historical past (first released in 1987) covers the full interval during which books were revealed in Britain. notwithstanding Gutenberg had the sting over Caxton, England speedy verified itself within the leading edge of the foreign booklet alternate. The sluggish strategy of copying manuscripts gave option to an more and more refined alternate within the revealed notice which introduced unique literature, translations, broadsheets and chapbooks or even the Bible in the purview of an more and more huge slice of society. robust political forces endured to manage the e-book alternate for hundreds of years sooner than the main of freedom of opinion used to be tested. within the 19th and early 20th centuries the contest from pirated united states variations - the place there have been no copyright legislation - supplied a strong hazard to the exchange. this era additionally observed the increase of remaindering, affordable literature, and lots of different 'modern' positive aspects of the exchange. the writer surveys some of these advancements, bringing his historical past as much as the current age.

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The ruling oligarchy had strengthened their hold on the trade, and even in making concessions to the poorer freemen they had evolved a system which gave the yeomanry a vested interest in maintaining the rule of their superiors. As a pragmatic solution it was ingenious, but it did not address the fundamental problem: too many men chasing too little work. By the early seventeenth century it was a common practice for the printing of a single book to be shared by two or more printers,44 a practice which reflected an important change which had overcome the trade in the previous thirty years.

The role of the patron was to provide material support for the author as he might have done for any other servant. This might take the form of appointing him to an office in the patron’s gift, or direct financial reward, or some combination of the two. 32 Such a system could not survive entirely unchanged in the commercial environment which enveloped the book world after the invention of printing. It is true that some printers were, in effect, the patrons of their authors. 33 Nevertheless, the patronage system was inevitably modified by printing.

Throughout the Civil War, the trade was dominated by political propaganda in various forms. In London, printing houses proliferated despite every attempt to prevent this, and the output of printed matter vastly multiplied. 8 The production of printed matter on this scale was a wholly new phenomenon not merely in quantity but in content. Proclamations, new laws and similar official documents had been printed since the early sixteenth century. 10 44 A TASTE OF FREEDOM The newsbooks of the 1640s were quite different from their predecessors which had been generally neutral in tone and confined by the licensers to foreign news.

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