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  • Print publication year: 2009
  • Online publication date: September 2010

29 - The British book in India



This chapter describes the various purposes for which books were exported from Britain, the scale of that export trade, and the emergence of an embryonic infrastructure for book selling and distribution within India. Apart from the end products of the printing trade, Britain was also the essential source of manpower and materials for the fledgling book trade in India. Trained personnel began to reach India in the late eighteenth century specifically to man the presses of the expanding expatriate printing market in Calcutta, Madras and Bombay. By the end of the eighteenth century, the professional elite of British society in India possessed private libraries of considerable size. The commercial importation of British books into India began with the captains and officers of East India men who were allowed to ship out freight-free a certain weight of speculative cargo according to rank.

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