New Formats for Information

in Steam-Powered Knowledge

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print February 2012 | ISBN: 9780226276519
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226276540 | DOI:
New Formats for Information

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  • History of Science and Technology


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This chapter describes new formats for information for W. & R. Chambers. One of the reasons for the early success of the Information for the People must be the almost-unique selling point of costing. The “Prefatory Information” for the Information for the People clarified that the important thing about the project was its inclusion of “human knowledge” at “a price beyond example moderate”—in other words, cheap instruction. The success of the Information for the People and Chambers's Journal offered W. & R. Chambers confidence in their ability to make a commercial system of supplying desirable instructive reading material at affordable prices to sufficiently large numbers of readers. The Chambers' People's Editions were almost alone in occupying a market niche for very cheap nonfiction. Their contributors did not stoop “to humour the weaknesses of their readers, or pamper any unhealthy appetite.”

Keywords: costing; Chambers; Information for People; Chambers's Journal; People's Editions; affordable prices

Chapter.  5059 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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