|next article in this issue|
Document Details :
Title: Toen Elsevier werd opgericht
Subtitle: Ontwikkelingen in de Nederlandse boekenwereld in het laatste kwart van de negentiende eeuw
Author(s): STRENG, Toos
Journal: Spiegel der Letteren
Volume: 58 Issue: 1 Date: 2016
The ‘modernization’ of the nineteenth-century book industry is often described in terms of ‘specialization’, ‘rationalization’ and ‘commercialization’. The history of publishing company Elsevier ltd (by now Reed-Elsevier), established in 1880, indicates that the main changes lie elsewhere: a strong increase in capital, a new business model that included (price) competition and high risks, and changes in the conduct and ideals of the profession. Various prevailing views ought to be reconsidered: 1) the notion that Dutch publishers did not consider market opportunities until well into the nineteenth century; 2) that specialization is fundamental to modernization, and 3) that the Dutch Publishers Association, founded in 1880, was a union in the modern sense of the word. Developments in the book industry should be considered against the broader background of the economic and industrial developments in the Netherlands around 1865, and global developments in the 1880s when technological innovations and corporate capitalism went hand in hand.