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BOOK. n.s. [boc, Sax. supposed from boc, a beech; because they wrote on beechen boards, as liber in Latin, from the rind of a tree.]
1. A volume in which we read or write.
See a book of prayer in his hand;
True ornaments to know a holy man. Shakesp. Richard III.
Most of Samuel Johnson’s major undertakings – A Dictionary of the English Language, The Plays of William Shakespeare, and The Lives of the Most Eminent English Poets – were commissioned by booksellers. As the son of a bookseller, a professional author, and a keen observer of the book trade, Johnson understood the business of books far better than most of his contemporaries. Accordingly, no student of Johnson should neglect this highly important aspect of his life and times.
This volume covers the history of printing and publishing from the lapse of government licensing of printed works in 1695 to the development of publishing as a specialist commercial undertaking and the industrialization of book production around 1830. During this period, literacy rose and the world of print became an integral part of everyday life, a phenomenon that had profound effects on politics and commerce, on literature and cultural identity, on education and the dissemination of practical knowledge. Written by a distinguished international team of experts, this study examines print culture from all angles: readers and authors, publishers and booksellers; books, newspapers and periodicals; social places and networks for reading; new genres (children's books, the novel); the growth of specialist markets; and British book exports, especially to the colonies. Interdisciplinary in its perspective, this book will be an important scholarly resource for many years to come.