Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Early Book Publishing

With invention of several new printing technologies and a drop in the cost of materials, three centers of book publishing arose; Boston, Philadelphia and New York City. Because of a concentration of capital in the metros as well as all three being port cities created ideal conditions for publishers. Books would come from England on ships and because foreign works were not protected by American copyright laws publishers did not have to pay royalties and the books were quickly copied and sold. This formed the basis for most of the publishers book revenues, but this also helped to feed into the perception that American's weren't that artistically inclined because almost all of the classics that were in circulation were of British origin. Publishers were wary to take a chance on material that wasn't sure to sell becasue of the large commitment of capital that was necessary to get material out the door, so thet couldnt risk publishing something that might not sell well.


At 12:21 PM, Blogger A. Mattson said...

A good post on the roots of the publishing industry in the U.S. The establishment of copyright protections is so crucial to the business of authorship and publishing. What is the down side to copyright protection?

At 12:35 PM, Blogger Sheldon W. said...

The main downside that I can see is that maybe in the early days it was not always easy to establish who owned the rights to a particular piece of work and the wrong person might get credit.


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