How Books Came to America: The Rise of the American Book Trade

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Penn State Press, Jan 1, 2012 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 226 pages
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Anyone who pays attention to the popular press knows that the new media will soon make books obsolete. But predicting the imminent demise of the book is nothing new. At the beginning of the twentieth century, for example, some critics predicted that the electro-mechanical phonograph would soon make books obsolete. Still, despite the challenges of a century and a half of new media, books remain popular, with Americans purchasing more than eight million books each day. In How Books Came to America, John Hruschka traces the development of the American book trade from the moment of European contact with the Americas, through the growth of regional book trades in the early English colonial cities, to the more or less unified national book trade that emerged after the American Civil War and flourished in the twentieth century. He examines the variety of technological, historical, cultural, political, and personal forces that shaped the American book trade, paying particular attention to the contributions of the German bookseller Frederick Leypoldt and his journal, Publishers Weekly.

Unlike many studies of the book business, How Books Came to America is more concerned with business than it is with books. Its focus is on how books are manufactured and sold, rather than how they are written and read. It is, nevertheless, the story of the people who created and influenced the book business in the colonies and the United States. Famous names in the American book trade&—Benjamin Franklin, Robert Hoe, the Harpers, Henry Holt, and Melvil Dewey&—are joined by more obscure names like Joseph Glover, Conrad Beissel, and the aforementioned Frederick Leypoldt. Together, they made the American book trade the unique commercial institution it is today.

 

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book trade in america

Contents

Creating New Worlds
1
Inventing America in the English Book Trade
17
Creating Book Trades in English America
25
Creating German Books in the New World
37
Recreating the London Book Trade in the United States
49
Revolutions in American Book Production Technology
61
Transplanting the German Book Trade to the United States
70
The Evolution of the American Book Business
84
Notes to Preface
191
Notes to Chapter 2
193
Notes to Chapter 4
195
Notes to Chapter 5
197
Notes to Chapter 7
198
Notes to Chapter 8
200
Notes to Chapter 9
201
Notes to Chapter 10
202

Becoming a German Bookseller in the United States
95
Creating a German Bookstore in Philadelphia
103
The Evolution of an American Publisher
110
Creating an Independent American Publisher
125
Imposing Order on the American Book Trade
138
Creating the Office of Publishers Weekly
155
Celebrating the Book Trade in the New World
166
The End of the Beginning
176
Inventing the Future American Book Trade
183
Notes to Chapter 12
204
Notes to Chapter 13
205
Notes to Chapter 14
206
Notes to Chapter 15
207
Notes to Chapter 16
208
Index
209
COVER Back
227
Copyright

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About the author (2012)

John Hruschka is Assistant Professor of English at the Pennsylvania College of Technology.

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