From Newsagent to Reader: Defining Readership

C. Y. Ferdinand

in Benjamin Collins and the Provincial Newspaper Trade in the Eighteenth Century

Published in print April 1997 | ISBN: 9780198206521
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191677199 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Historical Monographs

From Newsagent to Reader: Defining Readership

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This chapter defines the readers by geography and by the material they wrote and read. It conducts a careful compilation and analysis of lists of newsagents that demonstrate significant patterns of newspaper readership and influence in the provinces during the mid-eighteenth century. It notes that for the Salisbury Journal, the early years saw agencies that were few in number but extensive in geographical terms; later, in the face of growing competition and in order to make distribution more efficient, agencies were concentrated into smaller areas. It determines that the facts of readership and circulation are closely tied to the facts of distribution, for distribution is the means to readership and circulation. An examination of nine major lists of Salisbury Journal agents from 1739 to 1785 and comparison with those of other regional newspapers form the basis of this discussion.

Keywords: readers; geography; newsagents; readership; Salisbury Journal; circulation; distribution

Chapter.  15549 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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