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Revolutions from Grub Street: A History of Magazine Publishing in Britain

Cox, Howard and Mowatt, Simon (2014) Revolutions from Grub Street: A History of Magazine Publishing in Britain. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

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Abstract

This book provides a study of magazine publishing in Britain from the perspective of the entrepreneurs and commercial enterprises that created its history. Convulsed by social, political, and technological revolutions, the industry has proved both adaptable and resilient. Using a range of source materials, the study traces magazine production from the earliest examples of individuals seeking to earn their living as Grub Street hacks, hawking popular reading matter around eighteenth century London, through to the global multi-media conglomerates that produce and distribute a vast range of modern consumer titles, utilising digital age technologies. This 300-year study in business history seeks to explain why the economic activity of magazine publishing has assumed such a diverse range of organizational forms over time. In doing so, it pays particular attention to the changing technologies of publishing enterprises, and the working practices which they have engendered. The role of Britain’s powerful printing trade unions is thus afforded detailed attention. Our study shows how, during the nineteenth century, the rise of mass-circulation consumer magazines and related systems of mass production eventually led to a period of extreme firm concentration. By the 1960s the vast enterprise of IPC had emerged as the dominant producer of consumer magazines in Britain, prompting political concerns over the issue of press monopoly. However, from the mid-1980s the twin impacts of globalization and digital technologies began to transform the industry, sparking the challenge of a new generation of customer-driven magazine publishing enterprises benefitting from desktop publishing systems and the ICT revolution.

Item Type: Book
Additional Information:

Publication date 31st March 2014

Uncontrolled Keywords: Grub Street, business history, magazine publishing, printing trade unions, mass-circulation magazines, IPC, dominant producer, press monopoly, customer-driven magazine, desktop publishing
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
T Technology > T Technology (General)
Divisions: Academic Departments > Worcester Business School
Depositing User: Howard Cox
Date Deposited: 29 Aug 2013 11:42
Last Modified: 13 Aug 2014 07:43
URI: https://eprints.worc.ac.uk/id/eprint/2355

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