Books and Their Readers in Eighteenth-Century England: New by Isabel Rivers

By Isabel Rivers

A set of 8 essays that examine the booklet alternate revolution of the 18th-century and the ways that major forms of 18th-century writings have been designed and got via diverse audiences. It units out to discover the solutions to definite an important questions about the modern use of books. Following on from Professor Rivers' "Books and Their Readers in Eighteenth-century England", released in 1982 this new assortment comprises the result of vital examine via famous experts within the box of e-book publishing historical past.

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Many have noted the effect of the Stamp Act on the circulation of newspapers, but the Act was also an abrupt disincentive for advertisers, applying a shilling duty to each advertisement. Pressures eased thereafter, with the advertising tax remaining at one shilling for over forty years. In 1757 this tax was doubled. 44 Over the century aggregate financial returns from such newspaper advertising increased sharply. The total payments of advertising duty, even allowing for duty increases, rose from the £912 collected in 1713 to £3158 in 1734, £7915 in 1754, £33,662 in 1774, £46,284 in 1784, £69,943 in 1794 and £98,241 in 1798 (the last year for which gross figures are available).

Booksellers often acted as collecting agents for such support, but where a project looked particularly uncertain the authors, their friends or patrons organized subscription themselves. Nevertheless — and circumstantial evidence is scarce — it seems that a bookseller rarely turned down a book if financing were available. It is simply not known how many manuscripts of authors looking for booksellers' support were refused. Negotiations over publication where the bookseller acted wholly or even in part as financing publisher are obscure.

A large proportion of trade offers in the final quarter of the THE B O O K T R A D E S 23 eighteenth century were advertised as bound; earlier discounts often specified sheets. 39 From their earliest years, the even more populist Nobles offered a trade discount of 14 per cent on twenty-five volumes of the same title. If country booksellers were able to sell their volumes for, say, the metropolitan price of three shillings, the potential for profit appears large. In practice, however, the largest profits were taken by the London wholesalers.

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