Pipistrello and other stories, Chatto and Windus, , 3 volumes edition price ledger, page no. A Village Commune, Chatto and Windus, , 2 volumes edition price ledger, page no. In Maremma, Chatto and Windus, , 3 volumes edition price ledger, page no. Bimbi: Stories for Children, Chatto and Windus, edition price ledger, page no.
Frescoes: Dramatic Sketches, Chatto and Windus, edition price ledger, page no. Wanda, Chatto and Windus, , 3 volumes edition price ledger, page no. Princess Napraxine, Chatto and Windus, , 3 volumes edition price ledger, page no. Othmar, Chatto and Windus, , 3 volumes edition price ledger, page no.
Guilderoy, Chatto and Windus, , 3 volumes edition price ledger, page no. Ruffino, Chatto and Windus, edition price ledger, page no. Syrlin, Chatto and Windus, , 3 volumes edition price ledger, page no. Santa Barbara, Chatto and Windus, edition price ledger, page no. Two Offenders and other tales, Chatto and Windus, edition price ledger, page no.
The Massarenes, Low, Marston, edition price ledger, page no. The Waters of Edera, Unwin, edition price ledger, page no. Wisdom, Wit and Pathos edition price ledger, page no. One was the first experiments in Net Books promoted by Macmillans The other was the sudden and dramatic collapse of the three-decker novel after , and the introduction of the single-volume novel selling in its first edition at 6s.
There is now no accumulation of unsaleable stock, as when a six-shilling novel is dying out, there is no difficulty in selling the used copies at 3s and 2s6. Earlier, most books started their commercial career from the same level ground as far as prices were concerned -- future reductions would depend on the reception given to the book by library subscribers.
But now, the publisher could not count on having the same feedback from library borrowers and consequently, would have to decide on a pricing policy before being able to test the market adequately. From the point of view of the author, the most engaging question was that of the rate of royalties.
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The most common rate of royalties was 10 per cent for the 6s novel. The print run for the first edition of such a novel would usually be in the region of 1,, During this period a large number of novels went into one edition only with a print run not usually exceeding 2, and sales which were sometimes spread out over a period of three decades or more.
Obviously, these books did not earn any appreciable amount for either the author or the publisher. And the most preferred form for these bestsellers was not -- as may be reasonably expected -- the cheap, single-volume, six-shilling edition; rather, it was the cheaper, single-volume, sixpenny edition. The boom and sixpence Towards the end of the s, the debate in trade periodicals over the six- shilling edition began to be replaced by that over the sixpenny edition.
Hitherto, the sixpenny issue had been the exception rather than the norm but with the gradual realization that six-shilling editions were not turning out to be as remunerative as had been expected, publishers began to turn increasingly to the sixpenny option.
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When did the sixpenny issue originate? During the period under discussion, the most popular authors published by the house included R.
Initially, it was their works which were most likely to be published under the sixpenny imprint. At this point however one might ask: why such a drastic reduction from six- shilling to sixpenny? Why not some intermediate price, such as 2s6d or the yellowback 2s? Next, people seem to have tired of the sameness of the magazines and for a change they turned to the sixpenny reprint of fiction.
People evidently prefer a complete story to a collection of articles, however readable. This introduced a further element of competition between the two forms. The novels were also got up with vivid and dramatic covers see illustrations on next page and could therefore compete on the same terms with the lavishly illustrated magazines. Thus it is possible to argue that the sixpenny imprint evolved in direct response to the boom in cheap magazines and the practice of fiction syndication. Also, it was able to target a large cross-section of readers compared to other forms of the novel.
These were by no means the first sixpenny novels to be issued in England. In an interesting sidelight Andrew Chatto points out how American piracy may have inadvertently inspired the birth of the sixpenny imprint: In those days there was no Anglo-American copyright as we now have it, but it was understood among American publishers that, if one of them brought out an English book, his neighbour should leave it alone.
The American pirate, however, broke into this understanding with a quarto reprint at twenty cents or thereabout, and that was the form of literary ship that pirated any number of English books. All that English publishers got out of it was the notion I have indicated there how Collins was desirous of seeing his books issued in sixpenny editions. Exactly one year later, in April , , copies of The Moonstone were issued.
Between and , another , 6d copies of The Woman in White were printed, in eight editions. During the same period, 80, copies of The Moonstone were issued, in six editions. Thus we have a total of , copies of the two books issued in sixteen separate editions over a period of twelve years. If we compare these figures with the number of non-6d editions of these two books issued over the same period, we have the following: seven editions of The Moonstone, at either 2s or 3s6d, totalling ,00, ten editions of The Woman in White, totalling 23, Therefore we have a total of seventeen non-6d editions compared to sixteen 6d editions between and These figures speak for themselves.
Sixpenny imprints of books by Ouida commenced three years after Collins probably due to the fact that Ouida was still alive and still had some vetoing power as far as cheaper editions of her works were concerned. The first 6d imprint of any book by Ouida occurs in February , when , copies of her most popular work Under Two Flags were issued. Only 1, of this stock were left unsold after two years, in April In November , , copies of Moths were issued at 6d and these were cleared within two-and-a-half years. Two more imprints of 20, each were issued in August and November In the meantime, three editions of Under Two Flags of 20, each had been issued in April , October and January Individual novels by Ouida, Charles Reade and Wilkie Collins had each sold as many as , copies.
This is not the total number of 6d novels for this period - they are the sum of all 6d novels listed in volumes of the production ledgers.
These four volumes list editions or impressions of titles first published before ; titles first published after are listed in subsequent volumes. However not everyone was happy at the prosperity of the sixpenny novel. As early as in , the Author was voicing its misgivings about the new trend. In a closely argued article, the following points were raised: Quoted, Keating, The Haunted Study, p. Therefore on a sale of 30, copies we have approximately: 1. As far as the author is concerned, if his new book was brought at 6s or even a 15 per cent royalty, he would make more by a sale of 1, copies Would a successful author do better or worse by coming out at 6d?
It is undoubted that many popular books sell at great quantities at 6d. But it is very doubtful whether the advantage is not a real loss compared with a book published at a higher price What effect will the cheapening of fiction produce in other ways?
Later 19th Century Novelists: Critical Heritage Set, 1st Edition (Hardback) - Routledge
It will make people unwilling to pay for a novel more than 6d. It will lead them to believe that the normal prices for all books must be 6d. It will necessitate the production of high-priced books for the libraries, and for the limited class who will continue to give a high price. It will make the present stock of six-shilling books practically unsaleable. It will probably complete the ruin of the country bookseller. Is this sale likely to be realised by a country bookseller? On the other hand, the same amount could be had from a sale of 2, copies of a 6s edition if the author received a 20 per cent royalty.
Then there is a considerable number of writers, holding an excellent place in literature, whose novels sell 5, to 6, They would probably find their incomes gone and their MSS. This was supported by another correspondent in Take, for instance, the excellent series of sixpenny novels issued by Messrs. These novels have gradually run down the gamut of price, first issued in the old form, three volumes 31s6d, then 6s, then 3s6d, then 2s, and lastly 6d.
Each edition has in no way clashed with the other. Church in According to him: The first person to suffer, if books are to be materially cheapened, must be the author. Where there is no author to be considered, prices are lowered to a point at which it would be unreasonable to complain. We suffer, as it is, from the competition of the great writers who have passed beyond the necessity of earning their bread.
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