Nature and Uses of Eighteenth-Century Book Subscription Lists

Author: Reid, Hugh
Examines the nature of eighteenth-century book subscription lists: how they worked and the role they played in the eighteenth century book trade. It also analyzes specific lists and how they may be used as exemplars for those wishing to investigate and analyse other lists


“Recent scholarship has done an excellent job in reconstructing the libraries of major literary figures of the eighteenth century—Samuel Johnson for one. We identify the names of the volumes owned and begin to make our assumptions about the kinds of reading done by Johnson. We then include the evidence of books owned in our critical estimations about Johnson’s life and critical positions. After reading Reid’s study, however, we might wish to proceed with more caution in following this line of analysis. We can now understand more fully how these volumes might have ended up on the shelves of both the noted and lesser authors of the day and of the general reader.”– Prof. John A. Vance, University of Georgia

“Here we have not only a detailed description of what was published through subscription lists in eighteenth century England but also an interesting discussion of the divergent reasons for publishing by subscription. Furthermore, the subscribers themselves are described in detail. This is a thorough and informative work on an under-researched subject which should be of interest for all students of the eighteenth century.” – Prof. Gudni Jóhannesson, Reykjavik University

Table of Contents

Foreword by John Vance
Chapter 1
The Eighteenth Century Book Trade
Chapter 2
The Role and Nature of Subscription Lists
Chapter 3
Getting Subscriptions and the Reputation of the Practice
Chapter 4
Previous Studies
Chapter 5
Further Approaches to the Study of Subscription Lists and Caveats