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date: 19 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The eighteenth century witnessed a remarkable proliferation of print, with annual publications in England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland increasing by more than 350 per cent from the first decade to the last. This chapter relates the growth in novel publishing between 1695 and 1774 to population growth and the growth in literacy. Recent research links the book trade keeping prices artificially high to readers’ consumption of novels as luxury products and evidence of social status. This trend is considered, along with remuneration for authors; the market for fiction; Irish reprints; continuations and spin-offs; abridgements and serializations; translations; circulating libraries; and the significance of book history to understanding the emergence and development of the novel.

Keywords: book trade, demography, book history, authors, readers, publishers, copyright, literacy, novel publishing, circulating libraries

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