In Shakespeare's time, printing and publication were the monopoly of the Stationers' Company. Members who wished to publish a book were required to enter its title in a register, and to pay a fee, which gave them a copyright in it. Not all bothered to do so, but the register is a valuable source of information, especially about the date of works not printed immediately on registration. For example, the earliest record of Troilus and Cressida is an entry of 7 February 1603, though it was not printed till 1609.
Subjects: Bibliography — Shakespeare Studies and Criticism.