The Dissemination of Cheap Instruction

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:
The Dissemination of Cheap Instruction

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This chapter discusses the Chambers' increased production, which resulted in bulk print quantities for export to the highly competitive market of the United States. William Chambers agreed with the sentiments of the Literary World, which insisted that “the dissemination of cheap knowledge” should not be allowed to outweigh “common honesty.” The Chambers's Journal and the series of instructive tracts were Chambers' best-selling and most profitable works. Chambers' instructive serials did not suffer extensive unauthorized reprinting. The relative lack of reprinting, especially of the instructive serials, indicated that the low British price of Chambers' publications removed the profit margin for American reprinters. It is noted that although reprinting was a major part of the American book trade, it impacted a surprisingly small proportion of Chambers' catalog.

Keywords: dissemination; William Chambers; United States; Literary World; Chambers's Journal; instructive serials; reprinting; American book trade

Chapter.  5045 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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