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Friday, November 7 • 10:30am - 11:15am
Price Control and the Publisher: Paperbacks, Book Clubs, and the American Net Book Agreement, 1840-1940

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In this retrospective survey we'll see how the American book-publishing industry struggled with price control—beginning with the paperback price wars of the 1840s and 1880s, continuing with the unsuccessful Net Book Agreement of the early 1900s, advancing to the arrival of book clubs in the 1920s, and ending with the success of paperback publishing in the late 1930s. Throughout this period, U.S. publishers were keen to adopt new manufacturing technologies and to expand their markets, but they fought hard to maintain prices and to control distribution in order to protect bookshop owners (and themselves) from price cutting. All of this sounds familiar today, given the current struggles over the pricing of the ebook and the success of new modes of advertising, selling, and fulfillment via the Internet. This talk will provide historical background and will show that the problems now faced by the industry are certainly not new ones.

Dr. West will be available for a book signing following his presentation near the Information Desk on the Mezzanine Level of the Francis Marion Hotel.

Speakers
avatar for James L. W. West, III

James L. W. West, III

Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of English, Pennsylvania State University
JAMES L. W. WEST III is Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of English at Pennsylvania State University. He is a biographer, book historian, and scholarly editor. West is the author of American Authors and the Literary Marketplace (1988), William Styron: A Life (1998) and The Perfect Hour: The Romance of F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ginevra King (2005). His most recent book is a collection of essays called Making the... Read More →


Friday November 7, 2014 10:30am - 11:15am
Carolina Ballroom, Francis Marion Hotel 387 King Street, Charleston, SC 29403