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

Revolutions from Grub Street

A History of Magazine Publishing in Britain


Published: 6th March 2014
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Revolutions from Grub Street charts the evolution of Britain's popular magazine industry from its seventeenth century origins through to the modern digital age. Following the reforms engendered by the Glorious Revolution of 1688 the Grub Street area of London, which later transmuted into the cluster of venerable publishing houses centred on Fleet Street, spawned a vibrant culture of commercial writers and small-scale printing houses. Exploiting the commercial potential offered by improvements to the system of letterpress printing, and allied to a growing demand for popular forms of reading matter, during the course of the eighteenth century one of Britain's pioneering cultural industries began to take meaningful shape. Publishers of penny weeklies and sixpenny monthlies sought to capitalise on the opportunities that magazines, combining lively text with appealing illustrations, offered for the turning of a profit. The technological revolutions of the nineteenth century facilitated the emergence of a host of small and medium-sized printer-publishers whose magazine titles found a willing and growing audience ranging from Britain's semi-literate working classes through to its fashion-conscious ladies.In 1881, the launch of George Newnes' highly innovative Tit-Bits magazine created a publishing sensation, ushering in the era of the modern, million-selling popular weekly. Newnes and his early collaborators Arthur Pearson and Alfred Harmsworth, went on to create a group of competing business enterprises that, during the twentieth century, emerged as colossal publishing houses employing thousands of mainly trade union-regulated workers. In the early 1960s these firms, together with Odhams Press, merged to create the basis of the modern magazine giant IPC. Practically a monopoly producer until the 1980s, IPC was convulsed thereafter by the dual revolutions of globalization and digitization, finding its magazines under commercial attack from all directions. Challenged first by EMAP, Natmags, and Condé Nast, by the 1990s IPC faced competition both from expanding European rivals, such as H. Bauer, and a variety of newly-formed agile domestic competitors who were able to successfully exploit the opportunities presented by desktop publishing and the world wide web. In a narrative spanning over 300 years, Revolutions from Grub Street draws together a wide range of new and existing sources to provide the first comprehensive business history of magazine-making in Britain.

Revolutions from Grub Street is a thoroughly researched history of the British consumer magazine industry that is also highly readable...a useful resource for undergraduate or graduate classes in magazine journalism, media management, and media history. But it is also a worthwhile read for anyone interested in business history in general, or in an entertaining overview of a fascinating industry. * Fiona McQuarrie, Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, * Even those who rarely pick up a magazine will find this new work a fascinating read. It has clearly been painstakingly researched, yet avoids the trap of providing so much detail that the narrative gets bogged down or becomes dull It would appeal to academics across a broad range of disciplines, including economic history, management, human resources management, and media/communication studies. Revolutions from Grub Street adds to the body of knowledge on business history, particularly from a publishing perspective, and makes an important contribution to our understanding of economic and social history * Jennifer Laing, La Trobe University Australian Economic History Review * Covering magazine publishing from Grub Street until the recent past, Howard Cox and Simon Mowatt have produced a magisterial account of the industry This book is pioneering stuff perhaps even paradigm-shiftingcontribution to the field. * James Mussell, University of Leeds, Sharpnews * This monograph is the first comprehensive corporate and economic history of British magazine publishers with an emphasis on those publishers for consumer magazines. The concisely and articulately written survey spans the period from the local origins of British magazine publishing in London's Grub Street of the 17th century right into the globalised and digitised 21st century. * Gerulf Hirt, H Net * A fascinating and long overdue account of the behind-the-scenes dynamics and changing business models of the UK magazine industry over the last 300 years. Any serious student of this key sector in the UK creative economy should read this book. * Barry McIlheney, CEO, Professional Publishers Association * An especially interesting part of the book deals with a major innovation in the use of advertising as a source of revenue. The authors show how CondA (c) Nast, the famous publisher of Vogue, succeeded in making target advertising the main source of revenue for his magazines. Two important arguments of the book, the drive for profit and the importance of female readers, eloquently blend together here. * Thomas Smits, Tijdschrift voor tijdschriftsudies * This compelling study of the evolution of consumer magazine publishing is a milestone in business and economic history. Charting the evolution of the industry in Britain from its 17th century origins through to the digital age, this well-researched book provides new perspectives on the links between the strategies of leading publishing firms and the imperatives of technological progress and social change. By focusing on the business dynamics and structures, the authors should be congratulated on providing a refreshingly new perspective on an industry which has shaped markets and cultural attitudes. * Geoffrey Jones, Harvard Business School * From Tit-Bits in the 19th century to OK! In the 21st, mass-circulation consumer magazines have been a remarkably durable feature of the publishing scene, surviving far better than newspapers the periodic upheavals in technology and in distribution methods. Yet as new entry has become easier the structure of the industry, and the identity of the leading players, has been anything but stable. By describing in interesting detail how competitive forces have played out in this market, and providing a lively account of the role played by individual entrepreneurs, Cox and Mowatt have made a notable contribution to an under-researched aspect of British publishing history. * Geoffrey Owen, former editor of the Financial Times * Grub Street will at last enable course leaders on magazine journalism and publishing courses to address a gaping hole in their syllabuses. * Magforum * The authors of this essential text for anyone interested in publishing tell the story of Grub Street and the emergence of the magazine industry in a manner that is both entertaining and scholarly and recount the history that revolves around some of the great names of magazine publishing. * Professor Tom Wilson, Editor of the on-line journal Information Research * The strength of Cox and Mowatt's book is that it tells the story of magazine publishing in Britain from a business point of view ... It traces how the various British publishing companies' fortunes rose and fell, how they were established, taken over and altered on the back of a handful of phenomenally successful titles, how their eventual fates were sealed by money, technology, squabbles in the boardroom and on the factory floor, too-rapid expansion and, more often than not, by ending up with so much invested in the status quo that they were no longer able to see how that status quo might change. The fact that it focuses on magazines as a business does not mean that it's lacking in characters * David Hepworth, InPublishing * Cox and Mowatt present an excellent history of the business of magazine publishing in this monograph, which fills a significant gap in the existing literature on publishing in Britain...The history of magazine publishing in Britain is a fascinating tale that is captured very well in this text: not only is this an interesting history in itself but this is crucial reading for any historian who might turn to contemporary magazines as a source. * David Camplin, History * A fine book. Broad in its coverage and rich in detail. This impressive mapping of the complicated dynamics of a plurality of titles across the industry complements previous studies of magazines themselves. * Professor Laurel Brake, The Times Literary Supplement * Media histories often barely acknowledge magazines...Cox and Mowatt's book fills the aching gap. * Tony Quinn, Financial Times * Cox and Mowatt explore compellingly the perspective of of publishing houses and their leadership personalities. * Gerulf Hirt, Friedrich-Schiller University, Jena [translated] * The authors combine their extensive research into business archives with an impressive knowledge of company reports, trade journals, and the fragmented academic literature to produce a history full of facts, figures, and rich detail. This volume will surely be a much-consulted reference work for scholars in the area for years to come the first proper history of the UKs magazine sector. Anyone interested in the history of publishing, print culture, or the media will find much of value here. * Adrian Bingham, Economic History Review *

Introduction 1: A Small but Expanding Market 2: Feeding the Popular Demand 3: From Mass Periodicals to Mass Production 4: The Dominant Female 5: Monopoly, Power, and Politics 6: The Ministry of Magazines 7: Breaking into the IPC Citadel 8: The Global Magazine in the Digital Age

ISBN: 9780199601639
ISBN-10: 0199601631
Audience: Professional
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 304
Published: 6th March 2014
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 23.4 x 15.6  x 2.8
Weight (kg): 0.64