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Steam-Powered KnowledgeWilliam Chambers and the Business of Publishing, 1820-1860$
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Aileen Fyfe

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780226276519

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226276540.001.0001

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New Formats for Information

New Formats for Information

Chapter:
(p.67) 5 New Formats for Information
Source:
Steam-Powered Knowledge
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226276540.003.0006

This chapter describes new formats for information for W. & R. Chambers. One of the reasons for the early success of the Information for the People must be the almost-unique selling point of costing. The “Prefatory Information” for the Information for the People clarified that the important thing about the project was its inclusion of “human knowledge” at “a price beyond example moderate”—in other words, cheap instruction. The success of the Information for the People and Chambers's Journal offered W. & R. Chambers confidence in their ability to make a commercial system of supplying desirable instructive reading material at affordable prices to sufficiently large numbers of readers. The Chambers' People's Editions were almost alone in occupying a market niche for very cheap nonfiction. Their contributors did not stoop “to humour the weaknesses of their readers, or pamper any unhealthy appetite.”

Keywords:   costing, Chambers, Information for People, Chambers's Journal, People's Editions, affordable prices

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