The Man Who Invented Bookselling As We Know It | Literary Hub

When did the modern, massive bookstore idea begin and first become reality? Would you believe back in the 18th century, in London, England?

Literary Hub (Oct.11, 2016) tells the story of the first mega-bookstore and the man behind it. I give you the opening paragraphs here and encourage you to read the rest at the link below.

Happy Friday! Will you be “booking” this weekend? Don’t forget those local indie bookstores (like Schuler, here in Grand Rapids)!

Today, few people are likely to remember James Lackington (1746-1815) and his once-famous London bookshop, The Temple of the Muses, but if, as a customer, you’ve ever bought a remaindered book at deep discount, or wandered thoughtfully through the over-stocked shelves of a cavernous bookstore, or spent an afternoon lounging in the reading area of a bookshop (without buying anything!) then you’ve already experienced some of the ways that Lackington revolutionized bookselling in the late 18th century. And if you’re a bookseller, then the chances are that you’ve encountered marketing strategies and competitive pressures that trace their origins to Lackington’s shop. In the 21st-century marketplace, there is sometimes a longing for an earlier, simpler age, but the uneasy tension between giant and small retailers seems to have been a constant since the beginning. The Temple of the Muses, which was one of the first modern bookstores, was a mammoth enterprise, by far the largest bookstore in England, boasting an inventory of over 500,000 volumes, annual sales of 100,000 books, and yearly revenues of £5,000 (roughly $700,000 today). All of this made Lackington a very wealthy man—admired by some and despised by others—but London’s greatest bookseller began his career inauspiciously as an illiterate shoemaker.

Source: The Man Who Invented Bookselling As We Know It | Literary Hub

Published in: on November 11, 2016 at 6:29 AM  Leave a Comment