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Over production in Books [manuscript]

 
Over production in Books [manuscript] by NOYES, Alfred (1921)
Author: NOYES, Alfred
Title: Over production in Books [manuscript]
 
Year: 1921
Publisher: Unknown
Place: USA
Dust Jacket: No
Signed: Yes
 
Price: £225
 
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Added under Manuscripts  

Impassioned short essay, probably written in the USA, urging British and American publishers to reduce the quantity and improve the quality of their books in response to the post-war recession of 1920-1. Noyes has written on the rectos of four sheets of '"Rufford" Parchment' watermarked paper, small quarto-size, signed at the end. The first sheet has a closed tear along part of the central fold. There are corrections and emendations throughout. Noyes married an American woman and divided his time between the US and the UK in the years after the end of World War I: the tone of this piece suggests it was written in the United States, very probably in the early 1920s while Noyes was preoccupied with teaching at Princeton. It is not known whether it was ever published.

In the essay Noyes takes a despairing look at the over production of unattractive, unwanted books, recalling how 'A short time ago, I saw in a large provincial book shop, endless rows of shelves choked with thousands of volumes of recent fiction... "How are you going to get rid of all this?" I asked the book seller. "I don't suppose we shall ever sell it", he replied.' Without naming the company Noyes appears to praise the work of J M Dent in his Everyman editions:' One of the most prosperous publishers during the slump in England was a firm that had specialized in producing readable editions of such books [classics and important contemporary works]... unless some radical change is made, bookseller after bookseller, will go bankrupt in the next few years.' The emergence of Penguin Books in the 1930s might be seen as a response to Noyes's phillipic. (VAT will apply on this item to customers in the UK and EU only.)
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