Page:A history of booksellers, the old and the new.djvu/9

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PREFACE.

"HISTORY" has been aptly termed the essence of innumerable biographies;" and this surely justifies us in the selection of our title; but in inditing a volume to be issued in a cheap and popular form, it was manifestly impossible to trace the careers of all the eminent members, ancient and modern, of a Trade so widely extended; had we, indeed, possessed all possible leisure for research, every available material, and a space thoroughly unlimited, it is most probable that the result would have been distinguished chiefly for its bulk, tediousness, and monotony. It was resolved, therefore, in the first planning of the volume, to primarily trace the origin and growth of the Bookselling and Publishing Trades up to a comparatively modern period; and then to select, for fuller treatment, the most typical English representatives of each one of the various branches into which a natural division of labour had subdivided the whole. And, by this plan, it is believed that, while some firms at present growing into eminence may have been omitted, or have received but scant acknowledgment,