PUBLISHING POLICIES: THE
THIS SECTION EXAMINES the trajectory of Scottish literary publishing and its place in the development and evolution of Scottish literary activity over the course of the twentieth century. During this period Scottish literary publishing travelled in an arc from a point of cultural dominance to a period of decline, transformation and then redevelopment. As Andrew Nash points out in his contributions, established publishers such as Blackwood, Collins and Blackie, leaders in the field of prose and literary and children’s fiction in the Victorian period, began to falter in the early 1900s as new, more innovative English and London-based players made their marks in the publishing field. While facing competition, traditional Scottish firms were also forced to adapt to new business and distribution models, such as three-volume novel publishing formats giving way after 1894 to inexpensive one-volume reprints and new issues catering to an increasingly literate mass market. To cope with such changes, booksellers and publishers occasionally co-operated to their mutual advantages. Thus book prices remained fairly stable throughout the century as the result of the implementation of the Net Book Agreement in 1900, while publishers took advantage of changes in 1911 in copyright laws to reissue popular texts in new formats, or in the case of Nelsons and Collins, to continue experiments in inexpensive publishing formats, such as their popular onevolume, 7d fiction reprints, begun in 1906, that sustained their lists and raised their profits for decades following. The launch in 1935 of Penguin paperbacks sustained the move towards lower-cost volume publishing: by the year 2000, paperbacks accounted for 60 per cent of new titles published in Britain, attesting to the incredible effect such a publishing innovation had on British reading habits, book ownership and publishing practices.