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F. Leypoldt, Bibliographical Editor. R. R. Bowker, General Editor.
FEBRUARY 1, 1879.
Publishers are requested to furnish title-page proofs and Advance information of books forthcoming, both for entry in the lists and for descriptive mention. An early copy of each book published should be forwarded, to insure correctness in the final entry.
The trade are invited to send "Communications" to the editor on any topic of interest to the trade, and as to which an interchange of opinion is desirable. Also, matter foi "Notes and Queries." Notes from librarians will also b< gratefully received.
In case of business changes, notification or card should b< immediately sent to this office for entry under " Busines; Notes." New catalogues issued will also be mentioned when forwarded.
"Every man is a debtor to his profession, fron. the which, as men do of course seek to receivt countenance and profit, so ought they of duty tr endeavor themselves 6y way of amends to be a kelp thereunto"—Lord Bacon.
THE PASSAGE OF THE POSTAL BILL.
There is no department of the Government with which the public at large has such constant and close relation as with the post-office; there is none, therefore, in which simplicity, common sense, and uniformity are more necessary. Unhappily, this department has been the one in which these qualities have been most notably lacking. It has not been altogether the fault of the Department, for it was hampered by complex and contradictory legislation. The Department and the public now join in asking Congress to pass a bill, carefully prepared, to put postal administration, on a common sense basis; but Congress is in doubt whether it can spare time from its political affairs to transact this much of the public business.
The bill removes numerous absurdities, and ought to become law. To its general excellence we enter one important exception : the clause, "Provided, however, that nothing herein contained shall be so construed as to admit publications which, although issued in regular series or successive numbers, are but books or reprints of books, or publications primarily designed for advertising purposes, or for free circulation, or for circulation at nominal rates, to the benefit of the privileged rate, whether printed in this country or abroad," should be retained, as in the original draft, at the end of Section
9. Otherwise the bill fails of that portion of its purpose which involved a protection of the bulk rates against advertising circulars in the guise of periodicals, and does injustice to one class of books by admitting another at lower rates. This clause was omitted by the Postal Conference because its Executive Committee was made up largely of publishers, who feared to open themselves to the accusation of consulting their own interests. They made a mistake in permitting this false sentiment to overrule general considerations. The Post-Office Department, we understand, desires this clause retained, and it is certainly right.
But even should this clause be omitted, it is to be hoped the bill will pass. The Department is in many respects admirably administered, but it is under orders of law, and the law is confusing and distressing both to the Department and to the public. ■ The only objections \o the bill arise on the one side from those interested in obtaining for their advertising circulars the benefit of bulk rates, and on the other from those opposing registration as a principle, who are sufficiently answered by the fact that the government must have some means of discrimination so long as it makes, as now, discriminating rates. An overwhelming majority of public opinion is in favor of the bill. Messrs. Congressmen, be good enough to take the half hour necessary to pass it.
We are indebted to the courtesy of Messrs. Harper & Brothers for the portrait of the late John Blair Scribner, which appears in this issue,—in the main an excellent likeness.
Things are taking a turn. Ten per cent of England's new books last year were American importations, and the latest Publishers' Circular received gives much more space to American than to English news.
Our issue for February 15th will be the Supplementary Educational Number, used by booksellers and teachers for the spring season, and containing a classified price-list of all educational books published since the issue of the Educational Catalogue, July, 1878. Publishers are requested to forward promptly a complete schedule of their educational publications since that date, and their advertising copy is desired as early as possible.
Our Annual Summary Number, which was delayed by the lateness of two or three pages of advertising copy and by other causes at the printer's,was held back another day to permit of mailing the Index with it. All subscribers should have received the Index with" that issue; if any
have slipped out in the mails, they will be replaced on application. The Index, extending to 12 pages, is the largest and most nearly complete we have ever made, and will, we trust, prove a great help to the trade.
The Board Bulletin, started last year, while well received by many in the trade, and generally recognized as a desirable trade help, has not received sufficient pecuniary support to justify its permanent continuance, nor does the probability of future return in the event of success authorize outlay in pushing it. The plan has nevertheless proved a practicable and useful one, and the publisher, reserves the right to resume the enterprise at any time when the voluntary subscription for the Bulletin, at $2 the year, shall be sufficient to justify him. As the proposed Christmas issues were not prepared, subscribers who have paid in their fifty cents will be furnished with the number of Bulletins still due them, to be issued as occasion seems best to ser^e their purposes.
The Evening Post was lavish of congratulations in a recent issue over the fact that a book which is ranked with the Wallace's "Russia" and Baker's "Turkey" series should have been issued in a cheap[reprint at 15 cents. The next day it very frankly made occasion to set forth one of the considerations on the other side, in an editorial article which we reprint. In fact, there are two sides to the case; not only is an American publisher debarred from presenting a decent edition to the American public, but he is debarred also from paying anything at all to the English author, and from making any profit for himself. We welcome heartily endeavors to give the people good literature cheap, but there are still considerations as important as cheapness.
As we understand that Mr. Win. T. Amies, of Philadelphia, has made public complaint in the trade that a certain advertising page of his publications was excluded from the Christmas Numberof the Publishers' Weekly arbitrarily and without reason, we desire to state that the sole cause of its omission was the fact that his plate was too large for our page. Mr. Amies was acquainted with the size of the Publishers' Wekklv page, attention was directly called to it also by our advertising representative when he secured the advertisement, and Mr. Amies was also notified on receipt of the too large plate. Mr. Amies claims, we learn, that because it did not actually run beyond the blank margin of the page we had no right to reject it, but a publisher certainly has the right to protect the typographical character of his publication
and does not sell the blank margins of his paper. The necessary rejection of the page was a loss to us as well as to Mr. Amies.
For "ways that are dark" in the underselling line, commend us to the enterprising newspaper publisher whose business method—a patent outside method, indeed—is set forth in an article that we reprint in full from the Burlington, Vt., Saturday Review, which we thank in the name of the trade for its exposure. The most provoking feature of this swindle is that the fellow has had the effrontery to go to book dealers in his vicinity (after underselling them at his variety shop) and offer to supply goods to them at less than publishers' wholesale prices. There has been, we are forced to admit, what may be called an apathy among publishers in this matter of underselling; but we are in hopes that a few examples of this kind may stir things up a bit. "Hari-kari" may be amusing to outsiders, but as a means of livelihood, it is not remunerative.
BOOKS "DUTY FREE."
At a meeting of the Executive Committee of the U. S. Postal Conference, held in New York, January 20,1879, the following preamble and resolutions were adopted and ordered to be printed. H. E. Simmons, Secretary.
Whereas, The Postmaster-General in his recent Report (page 30) has recommended the adoption by Congress of such legislation as shall permit the importation by mail, free of duty, of all printed matter, thus necessarily including books:
Resolved. That in the opinion of this Committee any such legislation would be disastrous to all the interests in this country dependent upon the book trade, and damaging to the public revenues, for the following self-evident reasons:
I. There can be no justification alleged why the United States Government should make itself a common carrier for foreign merchandise at rates greatly less than cost, and at the same time deprive itself of the customs duty which the revenue laws impose on such merchandise—a duty which is already far below the average levied by the existing tariff on other descriptions of manufactured goods.
II. If the proposed abandonment of duty be rendered generally applicable to all books imported by mail, both by booksellers and private purchasers, a very large proportion of our imports will take advantage of it, thus seriously reducing the revenue and enhancing the deficit in the mail service, while inflicting a severe blow on the book manufacture of the United States.
III. If, on the other hand, it be limited to books imported by private purchasers, an unjust discrimination will be made against the importer, who is obliged to pay the duties to a government, thus entering into competition with him at a loss to itself, and virtually transacting the business through the medium of the money-order system. Not only will he thus be rendered unable to import and pay duty, but the foreign houses will, as they have already declared, evade the law by establishing "canvassing arencies" in our larcer cities, which will sell books deliverable by mail to the individual buyer.
Resotved, That we recognize the advisability of some provision whereby the facilities of the international book-post may be restored, and we suggest that some plan be adopted under which books and periodicals now subject to duty may be transmitted by post, and the regular rate of duty be collected thereon, thus putting on an even footing all such importations, whether for trade or consumption.
Resolved. That copies of these resolutions be sent to Members of Congress, the Postmaster-General, the Secretary of the Treasury, to the members of the Postal Convention, and to publishers.
"A MASQUE OF POETS."
"A Masque of Poets." recently published in Boston by Messsrs Roberts Brothers, and noticed in these columns, has given rise to several curious errors of judgment with regard to the authorship of different poems. We learn from unquestionable authority that the lines entitled "Question and No Answer," universally ascribed to Dr. O. W. Holmes, were in fact written by Lord Houghton; that "One Hundred and One," which has been set down as the production of R. W. Emerson, was written by Miss H. W. Preston; that E. C. Stedman is the author of "Provencal Lovers," and not Mr. Stoddard or Miss Preston as stated by the newspapers. It may also be mentioned that "Transfiguration" was written by Miss Alcott; "Pilgrims," by the late H. D. Thoreau ; "Red Tape," and ''My Heart, I Cannot Still It," by James Russell Lowell ; and "A Lover's Tests," by Bayard Taylor. Mr. G. H. Boker is the author of" A Song Before Singing," which has also been fathered upon Tennyson and Longfellow; the ballad of " Husband and Wife " is by Miss Rossetti; and "Horizon" and "A Woman's Death Wound" by "H. H." W. E. Channing writes the "Children's Song ;" Wm. AUingham writes "Amy Margaret" Aubrey de Vere is the author of " Eld," A. B. Alcott of "Eumenides," and Mrs. Annie Fields of "Theocritus," which has been claimed as a matter of course for Mr. Stedman. "The Unseen Preacher" is by Miss E. S. Phelps, "October Sunday" by John Weiss, "Benedicam Domino " by Susan Coolidge (attributed also by the riddle-guessers to "H. H."), "Through a Window Pane" by J. J. Piatt, "Awakening," by Mrs. Celia Thaxter, and "The Marshes of Glynn" by Sidney Lanier. The volume is certainly graced with contributions from many favorite poets, and it will be no less heartily enjoyed by the reader because he is not obliged to tread on eggs.— Tribune.
NEW LIGHT ON THE COPYRIGHT QUESTION.
(From the Evening Post,3d Jan.)
The lack of a law of copyright in this country for literary works of foreign authorship is beginning to produce a result not foreseen, which is worth considering. We yesterday reviewed Mr. Grattan Geary's "Through Asiatic Turkey," a work of permanent value as well as of great present interest, and in doing so noted its appearance in the form of a number in the Franklin Square Library—that is to say, in the form of an unbound quarto pamphlet. In this shape a book of the sort has its uses certainly; it is so cheap that anybody may own and read it, and that is a gain; but there is the unfortunate fact behind it that the lack of an international copyright law prevents the publication of this and all other works of the kind in any worthy, permanent form, thereby shutting the book and similar books out of our libraries, public and private, which is a calamity.
In the absence of a law of international copyright, anybody who chooses may print a foreign book here; and with the certainty of competition by the cheap "libraries"—as they are called—before his eyes, no publisher will take the risk of publishing a work of the kind in any but the very cheapest form. This, we say,
is an evil, as every owner of a library will at once feel, when, looking at his handsome copies of Wallace's "Russia," Bakers "Turkey," McCoan's "Egypt," and Sergeant's "New Greece," he longs to put Geary's "Through Asiatic Turkey" by the side of its companions on his shelves, and knows that it does not and cannot exist in a form suited to such a purpose.
If only one book was affected by this state of facts, there would be compensation enough in the reflection that good literature is made popular, but unluckily the prospect now is that the rule which excludes this work from publication in book form will presently produce a like effect in the case of all books of foreign authorship, while the public will not really gain anything in return, because in any case books likely to be popular at low prices will be published in cheap form as well as in more durable shape.
There is one comfort to be extracted from this: Those publishers who have done a large business in the republication of foreign books, paying the authors gratuitous copyright out of their profits, and who have opposed international copyright measures as likely to interfere with their business, will now find it the part of wisdom to favor just and proper legislation on this subject. So long as the courtesy of the trade protected them from ruinous competition they were content with matters, and preferred to do what justice they could to foreign authors voluntarily; but now that a class of publishers has sprung up in whose bright lexicon there is no such word as courtesy, and who do not scruple to publish a foreign book without paying the author, in competition with the edition of a publisher who does pay the author, the great nouses will find their own only protection in the adoption of a just and equitable law on the subject. The public of book-buyers and readers, whose interest it is that all books of worth shall be accessible in decent shape for permanent use, will welcome the co-operation of these great publishing houses in their efforts to secure a copyright law founded in justice and reason, and not upon narrow geographical grounds.
ENGLISH BOOK PRODUCTION IN
1878. The Publishers' Circular (London) gives its annual summary and analysis of books recorded in 1878—and in improved classification. Out of the total of 5314 volumes issued in the twelve months, 3049, or three fifths, were absolutely new books, and 2046, or two fifths, new editions and reprints. There were 620 American imported works. Classifying the figures, we find that out of the total of 5314 works, Theology and Biblical literature, including Sermons, claim 739, nearly one seventh; Educational, Classical, and Philological works, 586, more than one tenth ; Juvenile works and tales, 448 nearly one twelfth; Novels, tales, and other fiction, 879, nearly one sixth; Law books, 129, or one in every forty one; Treatises on Political and Social Economy, Trade and Commerce, 181, nearly one thirtieth; Artistic, Scientific, and illustrated works, 147, or one in every thirty-six; Voyages, Travels, and Geographical books, 215, nearly one Jin twenty-five; History, Biography, etc., 430, more than one twelfth; Poetry and the Drama, 356, nearly one fifteenth;