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Book Routes. Imports of Foreign Books to Sweden, 1750–1800
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Department of Literature.
2010 (English)In: Publishing history, ISSN 0309-2445, no 68, 5-24 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This study focuses on the import of books to Sweden 1750–1800. The Swedish book trade in the 18th century involved mainly foreign books. The production of books in Swedish was still limited – even though it increased steadily during the century – and was in no way able to satisfy the needs of Swedish scholars for learned and diverting works in their original language. The import of foreign books to Sweden seems to have been undertaken in various ways: with the help of individuals who brought books home with them from abroad, through the exchange of scholarly works by the universities with institutions overseas and by means of the organised book trade.

Several Swedish book sellers imported books from abroad during the latter part of the 18th century. In fact, Sweden had a substantial number of book shops compared with other European cities. In the 1781 European bookseller’s directory Almanach de la librairie, the Swedish capital Stockholm came at a joint fifth place (together with The Hague) as to the European cities with the largest number of book shops, before cities such as Berlin, Amsterdam, Madrid and Rome.

Importing books to Sweden was, however, a financially risky business and some of the importers went bankrupt because of it. The conditions of the trade also underwent marked developments during the periods studied: at first, imports largely took the form of exchanges, for example. To conclude, the article shows that more basic research and comprehensive empirical studies need to be undertaken to provide a fair picture of this hitherto largely unresearched trade.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Cambridge: Chadwyck-Healey, 2010. no 68, 5-24 p.
Keyword [en]
History of the book, 18th Century Studies, Book trade, Sweden, Europe
National Category
Languages and Literature
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-207250OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-207250DiVA: diva2:647291
Swedish Research Council
Available from: 2013-09-11 Created: 2013-09-11 Last updated: 2013-09-11

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