Abstract and Keywords
The British Empire ran on print. The manufacture of printed material industrialized, speeded up, expanded, and cheapened through the century. Printers and publishers prospered as financing stabilized and markets expanded. Transportation carried print all over the United Kingdom and to colonies and other countries around the world. Literacy increased; education became more widespread and more extensive. Governing bodies churned out reams of investigative ‘blue books’, laws, reports, charts, maps, and examinations. Science progressed, published its results, and created controversy as well as machines, medicines, and commodities. Authors began to obtain rights in their writings, both at home and by the end of the century abroad. Journalism grew at a compound rate as taxes on knowledge were repealed and markets for inexpensive publications swelled. The reading public enlarged to include the working classes and women. Britain’s material print culture helped create and sustain the empire and its place in world history.
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