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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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Instruction in the Railway Marketplace

Instruction in the Railway Marketplace

(p.147) 12 Instruction in the Railway Marketplace
Steam-Powered Knowledge
University of Chicago Press

This chapter discusses instruction in the railway marketplace. Railway bookstalls would mark the final coming-of-age of efforts to promote popular education. Samuel Phillips's optimism about the railway's role in popular education came from his discovery that “working men generally and some country people” were good customers for “cheap and useful” books. The entire book trade was put under strain during the economic depression of late 1847 and 1848. W. & R. Chambers were not immune to the new competition, and it occurred in the midst of their worries about William Orr and the management of their London business. Both Charles Knight and the Chambers were wary of targeting their publications at the railway bookstalls. Unlike Knight and the SDUK, W. & R. Chambers survived the arrival of railway literature and shilling volumes. They had a sound business system and an efficient printing establishment.

Keywords:   railway marketplace, railway bookstalls, popular education, book trade, economic depression, Chambers, William Orr, Charles Knight

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