Introduction to Book History: 2nd Edition (Paperback) book cover

Introduction to Book History

2nd Edition

By David Finkelstein, Alistair McCleery


168 pages

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pub: 2012-10-24
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This second edition of An Introduction to Book History provides a comprehensive critical introduction to the development of the book and print culture. Each fully revised and updated chapter contains new material and covers recent developments in the field, including:

  • The Postcolonial Book
  • Censorship by states and religions
  • Social History, and the recognition of underrepresentation of its value to book history studies
  • Contemporary publishing

Each section begins with a summary of the chapter’s aims and contents, followed by a detailed discussion of the relevant issues, concluding with a summary of the chapter and points to ponder. Sections include:

  • the history of the book
  • orality to Literacy
  • literacy to printing
  • authors, authorship and authority
  • printers, booksellers, publishers, agents
  • readers and reading
  • the future of the book.

An Introduction to Book History is an ideal introduction to this exciting field of study, and is designed as a companion text to The Book History Reader.


'…it will continue to be invaluable as core reading for introductory courses in book history.'John Feather, Library & Information History

Praise for the first edition:

'David Finkelstein and Alistair McCleery have written an excellent introduction to the history of the book. This concise volume covers the major aspects of book history to introduce the novice or to refresh the memory of the scholar… the book as a whole provides a starting place for further discussion and exploration into the history of literacy, the book, and ideas about reading and text.' – Millie Jackson, Libraries and the Cultural Record

'the tracing of history, historiography, and competing views is engaging.' – Journalism History

Table of Contents

1. Theorizing the history of the book 2. From orality to literacy 3. The coming of print 4. Authors, authorship, and authority 5. Printers, booksellers, publishers, agents 6. Readers and reading 7. The future of the book

About the Authors

David Finkelstein is Dean of Humanities at the University of Dundee, UK.

Alistair McCleery is Professor of Literature and Culture at Edinburgh Napier University, UK.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Media Studies