Institute of English Studies in the University of London
This course introduces students to the remarkable series of changes that the British publishing industry (and by association the British book trade more generally) has experienced in the last one hundred and twenty years. Although concentrating on the British publishing system, the course will (because over the whole period British publishing was international in reach) make many references to the global book trade. It will tackle the economic and technical revolutions that frequently forced publishers to adapt rapidly to new circumstances, and it will discuss the changing legal environment, in particular the Net Book Agreement and the changes in national and international intellectual property law. The course will consist of two distinct types of seminar, which will complement each other. Firstly there will be ‘narrative’ seminars that provide a broadly chronological account of developments over the period. Located within these will be three ‘case study’ seminars in which the history of particular publishing firms will be used vividly to illustrate the points being made in the narrative seminars.