HomeGroupsTalkZeitgeist
Check out the Valentine’s Day Heart Hunt!
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

How Books Came to America: The Rise of the…
Loading...

How Books Came to America: The Rise of the American Book Trade (Penn State… (2012)

by John Hruschka

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1011,264,421 (3.5)1

None.

None
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 1 mention

As you might imagine, when I saw a publication notice for John Hruschka's How Books Came to America: The Rise of the American Book Trade (Penn State University Press, 2012), I was quite excited. A monograph on the early American book trade? Yes, please!

Unfortunately, that's not really what this book is. As Hruschka notes in his preface, he began the project that became this book as a "professional biography of Frederick Leypoldt" (xiii), a noted 19th-century bookseller/publisher and the founder of key American publishing trade publications, including Publishers' Weekly and Library Journal. And from about seventy pages in, that's fundamentally how it ended up. And that's a good thing. Leypoldt's story is fascinating, and Hruschka tells it well, from its roots in the early 19th century German vision of transplanting their style of publishing and bookselling to America through to the present, as the descendants of Leypoldt's companies struggle to make their way in the ever-more-rapidly-changing world.

Hruschka's account of Leypoldt's bookselling, publishing, and editing ventures, and his quest to bring some semblance of order to the chaotic American book trade, is entirely worth reading. While Leypoldt's "successes" ended up relying on others (Henry Holt and R.R. Bowker among them) to bring them to eventual fruition, his efforts are certainly worthy of notice.

The first six chapters, in which Hruschka seems to attempt to make the title fit the book, I had a bit more trouble with. These are, largely, recapitulations of prior works which have considered the origins and growth of the book trade industries in America: the first HBA volume, Hellmut Lehmann-Haupt's The Book in America, William Charvat's Literary Publishing in America, 1790-1850, and Robert Cazden's A Social History of the German Book Trade in America to the Civil War most particularly. While I see Hruschka's point in including these early chapters (to provide background to the Leypoldt chapters by explaining the always-fragmented, even haphazard development of the book trades in America), they seem not to fit with the rest of the book ... which in turn doesn't really fit with the title.

There are some minor errors which I hope can be corrected in later versions of the book: the author of "What is the History of Books?" is Robert Darnton, not Roger (xi), while the Mayflower passenger was Priscilla Mullins, not Rogers (77). It is an over-simplification to say that "A printed book is one of many identical copies" (5) - this is, of course, demonstrably not true for the hand-press period.

While I wish that Hruschka and his publisher had come up with a more accurate title for this book, I finished it very glad that I'd kept reading. The later chapters on Leypoldt and his ventures are very well done, and I certainly recommend them without reservation.

http://philobiblos.blogspot.com/2012/03/book-review-how-books-came-to-america.ht... ( )
  JBD1 | Mar 11, 2012 |
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
First words
Quotations
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English

None

Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0271050810, Hardcover)

Anyone who pays attention to the popular press knows that the new media will soon make books obsolete. But predicting the imminent demise of the book is nothing new. At the beginning of the twentieth century, for example, some critics predicted that the electro-mechanical phonograph would soon make books obsolete. Still, despite the challenges of a century and a half of new media, books remain popular, with Americans purchasing more than eight million books each day. In How Books Came to America, John Hruschka traces the development of the American book trade from the moment of European contact with the Americas, through the growth of regional book trades in the early English colonial cities, to the more or less unified national book trade that emerged after the American Civil War and flourished in the twentieth century. He examines the variety of technological, historical, cultural, political, and personal forces that shaped the American book trade, paying particular attention to the contributions of the German bookseller Frederick Leypoldt and his journal, Publishers Weekly. Unlike many studies of the book business, How Books Came to America is more concerned with business than it is with books. Its focus is on how books are manufactured and sold, rather than how they are written and read. It is, nevertheless, the story of the people who created and influenced the book business in the colonies and the United States. Famous names in the American book trade—Benjamin Franklin, Robert Hoe, the Harpers, Henry Holt, and Melvil Dewey—are joined by more obscure names like Joseph Glover, Conrad Beissel, and the aforementioned Frederick Leypoldt. Together, they made the American book trade the unique commercial institution it is today.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:07:18 -0400)

"Traces the development of the American book trade from the colonial era through the twentieth century. Explores the technological, historical, cultural, political, and personal forces that shaped the trade, paying particular attention to the contributions of the German bookseller Frederick Leypoldt and his journal Publishers Weekly"--Provided by publisher.… (more)

Quick Links

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (3.5)
0.5
1
1.5
2
2.5
3
3.5 1
4
4.5
5

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 132,478,748 books! | Top bar: Always visible