Humphrey Moseley

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bookscape -- Raven 2014

David Gants, "A Quantitative Analysis of the London Book Trade 1614-1618," Studies in Bibliography 55 (2002): 185-213.

examining "a period when the city enjoyed relative peace and prosperity" (185)

using edition sheets to count output

during the period, London stationers produced "an average of 7616 edition sheets and 356 distinct editions each year" (186); size of a typical book was "slightly less than 22 edition sheets" (187)

over half of that output was religious material; 15% works of literature, 12% informational texts, 11% law and politics, 7% history, 2% ephemera and official documents

first 40 years of 17c, number of master printers in London hovered around 20 (see Raven 2014 also), limited to 1-2 presses each

about 29 individuals or organizations appear on title pages; top 6 offices responsible for over half the output, sustaining the high volume through privileges to print bestselling materials or by cultivating relationships with publishers who provided sufficient work

"the data suggest a strong correlation between the ability of a printer to solicit commissions from other publishers and the production totals posted by that printer" (193)

handful of productive printers responsible for almost half of output; patents play a big role, use of patents was greatly expanded by Queen Elizabeth

by James, patents divided into stocks: English Stock, Latin Stock, King's Printer material, and Ballad partners

"Overall, the effect of these patents was to channel certain classes of books to a select group of stationers" (204)

King's Printer: first hundred years of printing in England, royal publishing was on a contractual/commission basis; but in 1577, Christopher Barker was awarded the post of Kings Printer, it became recotnized as a distinct office with publication rights. Barker bought Bacon House in 1579, effectively leading to the concept of a royal printing house under joint ownership; patents for control of printing large- and small-format Bibles, some prayer-books, certain classes of official documents, but Bibles took the most time/resources

King's Printer accounded for 6069 edition sheets or 17% of all London printing from 1614-18, over half of that devoded to Bibles of Books of Common Prayer, 3/4 reprints

observations: "the most productive printing houses maintained their high levels of activity either through the acquisition of protected titles or by aggressively pursuing work as trade printers; religious works constituted the single most important area of publishing, and a large number of stationers were involved in producing the non-protected segment of the field, especially sermons and books of religious devotion and instruction; literary and informational titles were also an important segment of non-protected printing, with perhaps two-thirds of the stationers we can identify as publishers involved with this trade; other areas, such as history and works of religious commentary and controversy attracted relatively few stationers interested in publishing; different subjects bring with them certain expectations regarding format, especially volumes of history, law, and works of religious commentary and controversy." (212)