The Scottish book trade

Beavan, I. and McDougall, W. (2009) The Scottish book trade. In: Suarez, M. F. and Turner, M. L. (eds.) The Cambridge History of the Book in Britain, Vol. 5: 1695-1830. Series: The Cambridge history of the book in Britain. Cambridge University Press: 1094, pp. 352-365. ISBN 9780521810173 (doi:10.1017/CHOL9780521810173.018)

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By the early nineteenth century, booksellers and printers had set up business in many of the smaller towns, and Scotland had printing, publishing and paper industries operating on a British scale. This enlarged trade can be viewed against a broader social and economic context. By the mid-1830s, the Scottish trade was complaining about the intense competition that had led to the frequent undercutting of the full retail prices. Yet the controversy was not remotely new. The Edinburgh Booksellers' Society had confronted the problem in 1796 and found one of their number, George Mudie, guilty of a practice 'highly detrimental to the interest of the fair trader'. Mudie gave in, but the problem nevertheless slowly grew. The Edinburgh trade recognized that a unified approach was necessary, and that the active support of London publishers and wholesalers was needed to control underselling. The principles of free trade were about to envelop the British book trade.

Item Type:Book Sections
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Beavan, Dr Iain
Authors: Beavan, I., and McDougall, W.
College/School:College of Arts > School of Critical Studies
Publisher:Cambridge University Press

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