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By John Feather

ISBN-10: 0203358988

ISBN-13: 9780203358986

ISBN-10: 0203375742

ISBN-13: 9780203375747

ISBN-10: 0415026547

ISBN-13: 9780415026543

This entire heritage (first released in 1987) covers the complete interval within which books were revealed in Britain. although Gutenberg had the sting over Caxton, England fast verified itself within the vanguard of the foreign e-book exchange. The sluggish technique of copying manuscripts gave solution to an more and more subtle alternate within the published note which introduced unique literature, translations, broadsheets and chapbooks or even the Bible in the purview of an more and more huge slice of society. strong political forces endured to regulate the booklet exchange for hundreds of years sooner than the primary of freedom of opinion was once verified. within the 19th and early 20th centuries the contest from pirated united states versions - 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 plenty of different 'modern' positive aspects of the alternate. the writer surveys these kinds of advancements, bringing his historical past as much as the current age.

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There was, however, a clear continuity of thought between the Leveller approach to this question and earlier attacks on the trade. 18 The hatred of monopolies and monopolists had perhaps been the most important single factor in creating the opposition to Charles I, and it was inevitable that the Stationers’ Company, as a very visible monopolist, should suffer in the general assault. The newly recognised importance of the printed word merely exacerbated the radical attack. Throughout the war, the Court of Assistants complained bitterly to Parliament of the chaos in the trade, but Parliament was unable, even had it been willing, to take any realistic measures.

27 The Court ruled the Company, and was increasingly dominated by past officeholders. In this lay the key to the triumph of the printers in the 1560s and the resentment of that power which came close to destroying the Company some forty years later. 29 Cawood had been Queen’s Printer since 1553, survived the transition from Mary I to Elizabeth I, and was obviously a politically wise choice. Waye, Wolfe and Kevall, however, were quite different. Although Wolfe was a printer, printing was a very small part of a very large business and neither Waye nor Kevall ever printed at all.

42 By the middle of the sixteenth century the print revolution was visible to all who chose to see it. The transition from scriptorium to printing house was more than merely a change from one form of book production to another. So great was the difference between the two that the change provoked a profound shift in the intellectual, political and religious life of the West. It was an unplanned revolution, and one which came so stealthily that governments were sometimes slow to notice it and slower to exploit it for their own 26 BOOKS IN THE MARKETPLACE ends.

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A History of British Publishing by John Feather


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