This comprehensive history (first published in 1987) covers the whole period in which books have been printed in Britain. Though Gutenberg had the edge over Caxton, England quickly established itself in the forefront of the international book trade. The slow process of copying manuscripts gave way to an increasingly sophisticated trade in the printed word which brought original literature, translations, broadsheets and chapbooks and even the Bible within the purview of an increasingly broad slice of society. Powerful political forces continued to control the book trade for centuries before the principle of freedom of opinion was established. In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries the competition from pirated USA editions - where there were no copyright laws - provided a powerful threat to the trade. This period also saw the rise of remaindering, cheap literature, and many other 'modern' features of the trade. The author surveys all these developments, bringing his history up to the present age.
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