Victorian Popular Fiction Publishing:

From golden guineas to small change. 

Access to new adult fiction in an elite culture,

and in the evolving ‘mass’ 19th century market.

John Spiers

Vol.1 ISBN 9781911454472  Hardback  £75.00

229 x 152 mm  c.280pp
Vol.2 ISBN 9781911454489  Hardback   £75.00
229 x 152 mm c. 360pp.

With 150 colour illustrations in the set.

About this book

This is a detective story about what happened next in the past. It prompts us to ask how we might know what we don’t know we don’t know.  It is illustrated with 150 illustrations in colour.

This is essentially an exploration in economic and social history. The work is focused on people and their inclinations, as book buyers and not only as book borrowers. It analyses the attempt by publishers to attract willing revenues.

It examines the social and technological changes of the period, and on shifts in sets of values. It stresses the roles of purposeful creativity and entrepreneurship, and on robust human energies. The changes in the spending by individuals of their willing personal revenues impacted greatly, as did the roles of publishers in experimental, adaptable trial-and-error, and ever-evolving systems.

The book analyses and illustrates ten key categories in 19th century publishing history: Multi-volume novels, and novels in parts, for the elite market; First one-volume editions of new, recent, and older fiction; ‘Down-below’: Early cheap print and reprints for working people; Special cheaper reprint series of great authors; ‘Railway’ libraries’, from 1847. Simms & M’Intyre of Belfast, and George Routledge of London; Other ’Standard Author’ series and one-volume reprints; The new cheap illustrated popular magazines of the 1880s and 1890s; Late-Victorian and Edwardian paperback editions; The new one-volume novel at 6s; Aspirational cheaper book series; and The experience of Pelham. There is also an extensive Bibliographical note.

About the author

Professor John Spiers is an economic and social historian. He is Senior Research Fellow, Institute of English Studies, University of London and a Professorial Research Fellow, London Metropolitan University.


Available  2024

Edward Everett Root Publishers Co. Ltd.