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The Pedlar in the English Distribution Network

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Chapter Summary

This chapter analyses the scale and structure of the English itinerant distribution network. Although London, as the chief centre of book production in England receives much attention, the chapter gives extensive consideration to provincial networks, focuses on the city of Exeter, in Devon, as a case study. It highlights the different types of itinerant booksellers in order to gain insight into their roles, functions and specialisations within the English distribution system. The author compares the figures for licensed pedlars in general with the more specific data of the British Book Trade Index (BBTI) to determine the number of pedlars with printed wares in seventeenth-century London. According to the Licensing Act, about one fifth of all licensed pedlars and hawkers from June 1697 until June 1698 gave London as their place of residence, although this group was composed of pedlars and hawkers selling all kinds of wares outside London.

Keywords: booksellers; British Book Trade Index (BBTI); English itinerant distribution network; hawkers; Licensing Act; London; pedlars; printed wares



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