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Enticing into Buying: Titles in Advertisements for Book Auctions in Eighteenth-Century Dutch Newspapers

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Abstract In the second half of the eighteenth century advertisements for auctions often mentioned desirable titles to entice potential buyers into attending. An analysis of these advertisements in several newspapers published between 1740 and 1800 revealed that the enumeration of titles only occurred in a limited percentage, varying per decade from 13 to 20%. Nonetheless the 975 advertisements thus traced, permitted to gain some insight into the books that were mentioned. This article presents an outline of the most frequently listed categories and titles. After a slow start in the 1740s the lists became ever longer, enumerating enough works to fill a bookcase, thereby highlighting expansive illustrated folios and targeting a wealthy and educated public. This trend is in accordance with the general trend that manifested itself in the late eighteenth century: customers liked to browse through extensive offerings of quality articles in order to make well-considered choices.

Affiliations: 1: University of Amsterdam the Netherlands


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