Publishing Statistics

Jonathan Rose’s The Edwardian Temperament 1895-1919 has useful statistics about publication during the period, taken from The Publisher’s Circular, a trade journal.

I’ve taken his figures, and produced a couple of charts which show the effect of the War on fiction publishing. The numbers of titles include reprints as well as new books. I don’t know how much of the decline during the War years was due to a smaller number of new titles, or to a decline in reprints. I think the charts are suggestive about trends, but I’m not sure that they constitute proof of anything much.




  1. Posted December 8, 2007 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

    If you’d like to see a graph of the publication dates of works of Great War literature published between 1914 & 1939 (based on only some 630 books, I’m afraid) then there’s one on my website

  2. Posted December 8, 2007 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the useful link – but how do you define Great War books? Are these just the ones that deal mainly with combat? Do you include early twenties novels (Privilege, Told by an Idiot, etc.) that work through the pre-war years and then have a culminating war chapter? Do you include novels by Rose Macaulay that are mostly about something else, but make a few sarky comments about the War (Dangerous Ages, for example). My definition of Great War fiction is very wide, so that’s why I’m interested in the total number of fiction title published.

  3. Posted December 11, 2007 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    I fear my criteria are rather vague. Primarily I include Personal memoirs, War Poetry & Novels which incorporate war scenes, either written by those who were in the war or at least lived through it. Books describing the home front do occasionally creep in.
    I know, as an ex-scientist, I should have better defined parameters but whenever i’m in a bookshop I pick up any novel from the 20s & 30s and scour it for war scenes.Yes I would include your first 2 examples. I’ll have to read Rose Macaulay – I see she was 33 when the war started. I think my graph only echoes what others have observed

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