Page:A history of booksellers, the old and the new.djvu/20

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tinction to the itinerant vendors) or from the other meaning of the Latin term statio, which is, Crevier tells us, entrepôt or depository, and he adds that the booksellers did little else than furnish a place of deposit, where private persons could send their manuscripts for sale. In addition to this, indeed as their chief trade, they sent out books to be read, at exorbitant prices, not in volumes, but in detached parts, according to the estimation in which the authors were held.

In Paris, where the trade of these stationarii was best developed, a statute regarding them was published in 1275, by which they were compelled to take the oath of allegiance once a year, or, at most, once every two years. They were forbidden by this same statute to purchase the books placed in their hands until they had been publicly exposed for sale for at least a month; the purchase money was to be handed over direct to the proprietor, and the bookseller's commission was not to exceed one or two per cent. In addition to the stationarii, there were in Paris several pedlars or stall-keepers, also under University control, who were only permitted to exhibit their wares under the free heavens, or beneath the porches of churches where the schools were occasionally kept. The portal at the north end of the cross aisle in Rouen Cathedral is still called le Portail des Libraires.

In England the first stationers were probably themselves the engrossers of what they sold, when the learning and literature of the country demanded as the chief food A B C's and Paternosters, Aves and Creeds, Graces and Amens. Such was the employment of our earliest stationers, as the names of their