THERE WERE MANY key changes in publishing and the book trade as the nineteenth century made its slow transit to the twentieth. Chief among these was the breaking of the monopoly that print, particularly in the form of books, had enjoyed for information and leisure since the second half of the fifteenth century. The development of radio, cinema and eventually television challenged the primacy of print with increasing success as the twentieth century advanced. Even within print the growth of a popular press, newspapers and magazines, driven by proprietors such as Northcliffe, usurped the discretionary time that the reading of books might have used. Books, however, were not superseded; they, their authors and publishers, adapted to changing circumstances strengthening those roles the new media could not play and developing a symbiotic relationship with those media where appropriate. In particular, books, old and new, provided the narrative material that the new media could themselves adapt for their audiences, some of whom might in turn be attracted to the original texts. Richard Butt provides a case study of ‘Rob Roy’ that illustrates this interdependence; it complements his general essay on the growth of the new (and mass) media that opens this section of the volume.
A second major change that swept through all aspects of the trade, from publishing to bookselling, was its increasing professionalisation, the subject of David Finkelstein’s essay in this section. This could be seen in three aspects: structural, vocational and organisational. Structural changes, discussed by Iain Stevenson and Alistair McCleery under the rubric of ‘the business of publishing’ also in this section, included a shift from cross-generational family ownership to conglomerate ownership for the larger companies and the continuing birth and growth of sole trader or partnership smaller firms to fill the gap. This