The book trade historically tended to operate in a spirit of co-operation as well as competition. Networks between printers, publishers, booksellers and related trades existed at local, regional, national and international levels and were a vital part of the business of books for several centuries. This collection of essays examines many aspects of the history of book-trade networks, in response to the recent ‘spatial turn’ in history and other disciplines. Contributors come from various backgrounds including history, sociology, business studies and English literature.
The essays in Part One introduce the relevance to book-trade history of network theory and techniques, while Part Two is a series of case studies ranging chronologically from the Middle Ages to the twentieth century. Topics include the movement of early medieval manuscript books, the publication of Shakespeare, the distribution of seventeenth-century political pamphlets in Utrecht and Exeter, book-trade networks before 1750 in the English East Midlands, the itinerant book trade in northern France in the late eighteenth century, how an Australian newspaper helped to create the Scottish public sphere, the networks of the Belgian publisher Murquardt, and transatlantic radical book-trade networks in the early twentieth century.