Octavo Size. Very Good in a Good Dustjacket. DJ is lightly foxed and has closed tear to top edge of rear panel-now protected in a purpose-made plastic sleeve. Black & white illustrations. Some mild foxing to endpapers and page edges. Blind stamped owner's name to base of title page [Hardwicke Knight].391 pages The first thorough account of the serial publication of books in the 18th century. Show how by serialization in newspapers and then by releasing small printed instalments, English publishers made new and old books available to a very great number of readers.
Good in duststained and slightly chipped dustwrapper. Cloth, 8vo, 22 cm, xv, 391 pp, facs. From a contemporary review: "After a general survey, brief but competent, of the book market of the period, the author first gives detailed attention to such 'serials' as the regularly published series of volumes or booklets of 'celebrated plays', &c.; the publication of instalments of works of all kinds in successive issues of early newspapers; and the occasional change from integral instalments to separately printed 'supplements' capable of being collected and subsequently bound. He then turns to his main interest-the books which were issued in weekly monthly fascicules at prices, usually from a few pence to a shilling, low enough tempt those readers who normally never bought a book. These 'number books' cover a wide range of interests. Some were obviously catch-penny productions designed to appeal to the salacious, such as the Apology for the Conduct of Mrs. Teresia Constantia Phillips (1748); while others, much more numerous, were substantial works such as Moxon's Mechanick Exercises 578), and Rapin's History of England in the original and in translation. Some were large works published for the first time in numbers, possibly as the only means by which they could appear in print; while others were reissues in parts of books previously issued in complete form. Mr. Wiles describes the nature and contents of the more notable productions, and gives in much detail the relations between the authors, publishers, and booksellers, and the sometimes extraordinarily complicated arrangements for sharing the costs and profits. Sales were large, and there is ample evidence that this device of piecemeal publishing resulted in a great increase in the book-reading public and in a new and highly remunerative development of the publishing trade. Little attention has hitherto been given to this new growth, and Mr. Wiles has made a real contribution to the story of the book trade in England, and to the story o fthe spread of literacy two centuries ago. His book is well equipped bibliographically. There is a valuable Appendix containing a 'Short-title catalogue of books published in fascicules before 1750', arranged chronologically and giving full bibliographical details. He also supplies a List of the booksellers, printers, and others who took part in the production and sale of 'number books'; a bibliography of the subject; and a useful note on those eighteenth-century dates which provide so many traps for the unwary. There are also nine reproductions of illustrative documents."
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