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Stationers, Papetiers and the Supply Networks of a Swiss Publisher: The Sociéte Typographique de Neuchâtel and the Paper Trade 1769-1789

Burrows, Simon and Falk, Michael and Hendery, Rachel and McDonough, Katherine (2021) Stationers, Papetiers and the Supply Networks of a Swiss Publisher: The Sociéte Typographique de Neuchâtel and the Paper Trade 1769-1789. In: Bellingradt, Daniel and Reynolds, Anna, eds. The Paper Trade in Early Modern Europe: Practices, Materials, Networks. Brill, Leiden. ISBN 978-90-04-42399-2. E-ISBN 978-90-04-42400-5. (doi:10.1163/9789004424005) (Access to this publication is currently restricted. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:82581)

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What can be learned about the paper trade from digital and archival sources on the business of a single publishing house? Would the lessons it teaches be of merely local interest, or can such a case study reveal wider information about the, rhythms, networks and scale of the trade? These are questions we seek to address in this study. In the process we hope to shed fresh light on the practices, materials, and networks of the early modern paper trade in Europe, particularly the mechanisms by which printers and publishers attempted to ensure a regular supply of paper to their workshops. By analyzing the supply and demand for paper from a single company’s business records across a time span of almost two decades, our study illuminates the business practices of paper traders, and the interplay of supply networks and purchasing strategies of major paper buyers in early modern Europe.This chapter grew from of a desire to explore the rich data on professional groups in the award-winning French Book Trade in Enlightenment Europe (FBTEE) database, which documents the trade of a large Swiss publisher-wholesaler, the Société typographique de Neuchâtel (STN). We first describes the database from which the analysis was derived (§1), then describes the methods used to estimate the STN's usage of printing paper (§2.1) and business paper (§2.2) from the available sales and publication records. We use this data to consider demand for paper in Francophone Europe during the Enlightenment. We consider first what the STN's paper usage tells us about the volatility of the paper market in the period (§3.1), and then build on what we know about the STN's installed capacity to re-estimate the total paper usage of the book trade in Enlightenment Europe (§3.2). Finally we turn to the records of STN's business correspondence to determine how they sourced their paper (§4). We conclude with our reflections on how economic, political and cultural forces shaped the publication of Enlightenment texts, and on how digital methods can help us study these forces (§5). Reason, it seems, was not the only driver of the Age of Reason.

Item Type: Book section
DOI/Identification number: 10.1163/9789004424005
Uncontrolled keywords: Eighteenth-century studies, book history, digital humanities, historical bibliometrics
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DC France
P Language and Literature > PQ Romance Literature > PQ1 French Literature
Z Bibliography. Library Science. Information Resources > Z4 Books. Writing. Paleography
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of English
Depositing User: Michael Falk
Date Deposited: 24 Aug 2020 13:45 UTC
Last Modified: 29 Sep 2021 15:28 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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