AUTHORS AND READERS
THE NINETEENTH CENTURY, covered in the previous volume in this series, witnessed the gradual assertion of authors’ rights and the acquisition of social status for professional writers. Two factors can be identified as contributing to these changes: the increasing demand for words to fill the pages of newspapers and magazines and the shelves of the circulating and other libraries; and the emergence of the author as celebrity from Scott onwards. The Scottish publishing industry cannily invested in new authors as it carried on its lucrative trade in reprints; and it balanced its fiction lists with steadily selling text books in science, law and theology, as detailed in Section 4 above. Edinburgh itself con tained the printers and booksellers necessary to sustain this publishing output but it competed with London for the authors who provided its raw material, even those nurtured in Scotland and in its reviews. Scott provided a role model for those wishing to remain in Scotland although his initial volumes of poetry, Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border (1802–3) and The Lay of the Last Minstrel (1805), were largely handled by London-based booksellers. This changed with Marmion (1808) under taken by Constable and The Lady of the Lake (1810) by John Ballantyne, in which Scott was himself a secret partner. The Scott Monument in Princes Street in Edinburgh represents, all the way up to its 200-foot top, an iconic statement of Scott’s celebrity status.
That status was tied up with the author’s ability to command greater earnings. Three methods of rewarding the author were in common use throughout the nineteenth century as subscription fell into general disuse. Writers could share the risk of publication with the publisher in return for half the profits after costs but often encountered disreputable partners who inflated costs to diminish profits. Secondly, writers could sell copyright in their work outright to the publisher, receiving only the