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The History of Oxford University Press: Volume IBeginnings to 1780$
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Ian Gadd

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199557318

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199557318.001.0001

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A Learned Press in a Commercial World

A Learned Press in a Commercial World

(p.242) Chapter 8 A Learned Press in a Commercial World
The History of Oxford University Press: Volume I

John Feather

Oxford University Press

The chapter focuses on the Press as a commercial enterprise from 1585, analyzing the initial motivations for leasing its printing rights to independent tradesmen and the subsequent reasons for reassuming control of its own printing in the late seventeenth century. The financing and sales of books thereafter became as important to the Press's success as the learned reputation of its publications. The chapter identifies the financial strengths and weaknesses of the Press and examines how it made use of the mechanisms and systems developed by the London book trade. Relationships with the London trade were often hostile, but partnerships with other publishers arose, both formal and informal, from which both the University and the trade derived limited benefits. The chapter thus examines the internal commercial history of the Press — its finances, sales, and distribution — and contextualizes that history amid the growth, change, and conflict of the wider book trade.

Keywords:   finances, Joseph Barnes, distribution, John Fell, privileged printing, London book trade, sales, warehousing, Delegates' books

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