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By John Feather

Completely revised, restructured and up to date, A historical past of British Publishing covers six centuries of publishing in Britain from ahead of the discovery of the printing press, to the digital period of this present day. John Feather areas Britain and her industries in a global market and examines simply how ‘British’, British publishing rather is. contemplating not just the publishing itself, but additionally the parts affecting, and laid low with it, Feather lines the historical past of publishing books in Britain and examines: schooling politics expertise legislation faith customized classification finance, creation and distribution the onslaught of worldwide enterprises. in particular designed for publishing and publication background classes, this can be the single publication to offer an total historical past of British publishing, and should be a useful source for all scholars of this attention-grabbing topic.

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Tottell’s patent was particularly interesting and valuable. It covered a whole class of books, including any written after the granting of the privilege, whereas the earlier patents had related to specific books. It was these class privileges, or monopolies as they were to be known to their opponents by the end of the century, which multiplied in the next few years. By 1559, Tottell had the sole rights in all law books; by the late 1570s similar privileges covered not only law books, Bibles and prayer books, but also almanacs, ABCs (elementary reading books), catechisms, Latin books, grammars and printed music.

The effect of that decree was that the Stationers’ Company now became the openly acknowledged partner of the crown in the process of censorship. Panels of ‘authorisers’ were established to consider and license any books which seemed likely to be contentious. New books were to be approved either by the Archbishop of Canterbury or by the Bishop of London, and no one else. Only the Queen’s Printer was exempted from this requirement. In practice, dozens of senior clergy, crown officials, lawyers and academics were to be involved in the process over the next fifty years (Greg 1962).

The whole line of argument is strengthened when we consider the alleged motive of the crown, the control of the press, for there was no need to create a corporation when there were existing executive decrees to the same end. Moreover, there is nothing in the Charter which grants the Company any rights of censorship or licensing, and Elizabeth I’s Injunctions of 1559 (see below, pp. 33–4) make it quite clear that it was envisaged that the traditional system, somewhat modified and augmented, was to be continued.

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