4.0866 Responses: Erasmus; Book Sales Query (2/88)

Elaine Brennan & Allen Renear (EDITORS@BROWNVM.BITNET)
Tue, 8 Jan 91 14:51:27 EST

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 4, No. 0866. Tuesday, 8 Jan 1991.

(1) Date: Mon, 07 Jan 91 14:28:41 GMT (17 lines)
From: Rainer Henrich <K145310@CZHRZU1A>
Subject: Reply: Problems in annotating Erasmus' letters

(2) Date: Tue, 8 JAN 91 12:05:40 GMT (71 lines)
Subject: Re: 4.0862 Queries - Book sales figures

(1) --------------------------------------------------------------------
Date: Mon, 07 Jan 91 14:28:41 GMT
From: Rainer Henrich <K145310@CZHRZU1A>
Subject: Reply: Problems in annotating Erasmus' letters

I think that I can answer question no. 3: Oecolampadius was preparing
his book DE LIBERO ARBITRIO, when Johann from Botzheim wrote his letter
to Erasmus (November 26, 1524). Dedication is dated December 4, 1524,
according to Ernst Staehelin, Oekolampad-Bibliographie, 2nd ed., reprint
Nieuwkoop 1963, p. 49s, no. 101. The subject corresponds perfectly
with the context (discussion about liberum arbitrium).

Rainer Henrich, lic. theol.
Kirchgasse 9
CH-8001 Zuerich
(2) --------------------------------------------------------------83----
Date: Tue, 8 JAN 91 12:05:40 GMT
Subject: Re: 4.0862 Queries - Book sales figures

John Price-Wilkin <USERLD84@UMICHUB.BITNET> asked about book sales figures ...

> He is specifically
> interested in title by title sales numbers for English-language
> books over many years. Ideally, what he would like to find is a
> single (though serial) source that would list titles published
> each year and the number of copies sold ... the three years he is most
> interested in are 1889, 1892, and 1895.

I passed on the query to a colleague at the Open University here in
Milton Keynes, UK - this was his reply:

start **********

Dear Mr Price-Wilkin,

In reply to your questions:

1. I am currently preparing a monograph (to be published by the
Bibliographical Society of London later this year) on `Some Patterns and
Trends in British Publishing 1800-1919'. This discusses and lists some
of the major sources of statistical information on UK print production
in the 19th and early 20th centuries. None of the sources is completely
reliable, and none represents more than an interesting subset of total
production. Furthermore, the figures I deal with are specifically UK
rather than the broader `English-language' book figures for which you
asked. Most of these sources list titles (or, if you are lucky,
editions and impressions), none that I know of details print-runs or
numbers of copies sold.

As part of a Leverhulme-funded research project entitled `Productivity
and Profit 1830-1939' I am directing a research fellow who is
investigating the production records of various publishing and printing
firms over the period. This will give us the chance to discover actual
print-runs of bestsellers and other books although it will only be a
sample of them, rather than the whole lot. The research project should
be producing some results by the end of this year.

Your colleague asks about the years 1889, 1892, 1895; to give you an
example of what I'm working on, I list below two sources for those years
taken from the first section of my monograph. The figures from the
`Publishers' Circular' are numbers of titles published in that year and
include some, but not all, reprints. The British Museum Copyright
Receipt Registers gave a separate number for each printed item (so a
three-decker novel would be regarded as three printed items).

Publishers' Circular British Museum Registers
1889 6067 48551
1892 6254 55881
1895 6516 58893

If you want further information please do not hesitate to contact me via
the Open University.

Simon Eliot

end **********

Hope this helps,
Best wishes for 1991
Research Adviser, Academic Computing Service, The Open University,
Walton Hall, Milton Keynes, MK7 6AA, United Kingdom.
phone (0908) 652413
fax (0908) 653744