Publishers Weekly yesteryear

Do you know what the second/third week of August tradition was for Publishers Weekly throughout the last few decades of the 19th Century? Why to publish long list of academic books for schools of course.

What does that mean?

No news from the 19th century this week since the magazines were just giant listings and ads.

Go read a book instead.


Death and Thievery in the 1890s

Here are some of the top stories about the publishing world for June 7, 1888.

From Publishers Weekly, issue 858.


THE announcement that the home of the late Louisa M. Alcott, of Concord, Mass., is to be sold, leads to the suggestion that it be bought by subscription and appropriately converted into a home for poor children as a memorial to the authoress so well beloved by young readers.

MONDAY, June 25, in the afternoon, while several customers were in the store of William Evarts Benjamin, 6 Astor Place, and the clerks at the rear, a respectably appearing person took from the shelf a copy of the large-paper edition in two volumes of the "Book of the Sonnet," by Leigh Hunt, finely bound in half brown crushed levant morocco, gilt tops, uncut. Price $12.50. The thief afterwards offered the books to J. Shea of 75 Nassau St. who refused to buy at the price asked, $5. The trade are requested to detain any person offering the books until an officer can be called. Mr. Benjamin expresses his intention of prosecuting if the thief is caught. It is a singular fact that, owing to mutual good feeling and a familiar knowledge of one another, the book-trade has of late years succeeded in apprehending and convicting all the thieves who have attempted to dispose of their booty.


The Orphans are going to take the Orphanage- copyright and orphan works

Are you keeping up with the latest news on the Orphan Works Act of 2008?

I think we need a little respite from the craziness with this editorial note from Publishers Weekly, July 7, 1888 [No. 858]

One of the most amusing features of the present copyright movement- and there are not a few- is the agitation that has worked the "bone and sinew" of the British Isles into a fevered heat, which to the most cool-headed must cause positive alarm. The "British workman," that is the "printers, printers' engineers, engravers, book-sellers, compositors, pressmen, machinemen, machineboys, printers' devils, paper-makers, paper-makers' engineers, paper-stockmen, publishers, book binders, type founders, ink-makers, lithographers, etc.," - to quote a list displayed in large type down the columns of the British Printer- have combined to protest against the Chance Bill for no other reason than that they object to having the "headquarters of literature transferred, either gradually or suddenly, from England to America." Their great fear seems to be that "America is likely to become sole manufacturer of the best English books," and the London houses would become mere branches of the American ones." Among other alarmists, the Paper Trade Review seriously considers this "a question of extreme gravity concerning alike the vital necessities of the printing and auxiliary trades, and there is a danger of its being merged into a question of general commercial policy. That must not be! We feel that it is no fiscal question whatever. Free trade and protection have nothing to do with the matter." Truly, the "Dutch are going to take Holland." The interests of English authors, by the way, are quite overlooked by these gentlemen.

Too good to add to my weekly update of news.