Early Publishing

Sat 14 Mar 2015

The lack of printing regulations and the unenforceability of British copyright law in the American colonies made it possible for colonial printers occasionally to act as publishers. Although they rarely undertook major publishing project because it was difficult to sell books as cheaply as they could be imported from Europe, printers in Philadelphia did publish work that required only small amounts of capital, paper, and type. Broadsides could be published with minimal financial risk. Consisting of only one sheet of paper and requiring small amounts of type, broadsides involved lower investments of capital than longer works. Furthermore, the broadside format lent itself to subjects of high, if temporary, interest, enabling them to meet with ready sale. If the broadside printer miscalculated, however, and produced a sheet that did not sell, it was not likely to be a major loss, and the printer would know this immediately, There would be no agonizing wait with large amounts of capital tied up, books gathering dust on the shelves, and creditors impatient for payment

In addition to broadsides, books and pamphlets, consisting mainly of political tracts, catechisms, primers, and chapbooks were relatively inexpensive to print and to buy. Chapbook were pamphlet-sized books, usually containing popular tales, ballads, poems, short plays, and jokes, small, both in formal and number of pages, they were generally bound simply, in boards (a form of cardboard) or merely stitched in paper wrappers (a sewn antecedent of modern-day paperbacks). Pamphlets and chapbooks did not require fine paper or a great deal of type to produce they could thus be printed in large, cost-effective editions and sold cheaply.

By far, the most appealing publishing investments were to be found in small books that had proven to be steady sellers, providing a reasonably reliable source of income for the publisher. They would not, by nature, be highly topical or political, as such publications would prove of fleeting interest. Almanacs, annual publications that contained information on astronomy and weather patterns arranged according to the days, week, and months of a given year, provided the perfect steady seller because their information pertained to the locale in which they would be used


1. Which aspect of colonial printing does the passage mainly discuss?
(A) Laws governing the printing industry.    
(B) Competition among printers
(C) Types of publications produced    
(D) Advances in printing technology

2. According to the passage, why did colonial printers avoid major publishing projects?
(A) Few colonial printers owned printing machinery that was large enough to handle major projects.
(B) There was inadequate shipping available in the colonies.
(C) Colonial printers could not sell their work for a competitive price.
(D) Colonial printers did not have the skills necessary to undertake large publishing projects.

3. Broadsides could be published with little risk to colonial printers because they
(A) required a small financial investment and sold quickly
(B) were in great demand in European markets
(C) were more popular with colonists than chapbooks and pamphlets
(D) generally dealt with topics of long-term interest to many colonists

4. The word "they" in line 17 refers to
(A) chapbooks    
(B) tales    
(C) jokes    
(D) pages

5. The word "antecedent" in line 19 is closest in meaning to
(A) predecessor    
(B) format    
(C) imitation    
(D) component

6. Chapbooks produced in colonial America were characterized by
(A) fine paper        
(B) cardboard covers
(C) elaborate decoration        
(D) a large number of pages

7. The word "appealing" in line 22 is closest in meaning to
(A) dependable    
(B) respectable    
(C) enduring    
(D) attractive

8. What were "steady sellers" (line 23) ?
(A) Printers whose incomes were quite large
(B) People who traveled from town to town selling Books and pamphlets
(C) Investors who provided reliable financial Support for new printers
(D) Publications whose sales were usually consistent from year to year

9. The word "locale" in line 28 is closest in meaning to
(A) topic    
(B) season    
(C) interest    
(D) place

10. All of the following are defined in the passage EXCEPT
(A) "Broadsides" (line 6)        
(B) "catechisms" (line 15)
(C) "chapbooks” (line 16)        
(D) "Almanacs" (line 25)


1)C 2)C 3)A 4)A 5)A 6)B  7)D 8)D 9)D 10)B

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