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The History of Saint Paul’s Cathedral

The History of Saint Paul's Cathedral, in London, from its Foundation

William Dugdale (1605-1686).
The History of Saint Paul’s Cathedral, in London, From its Foundation... London: Lackington et al, 1818.
(SPL) DA 687 .S14 D85

James Lackington, who began selling books in London in 1774, was one of the first booksellers to make a fortune in the business. He was part of a “new breed” of entrepreneurs who arose in the increasingly competitive 18th century book trade - clever, shrewd and profit-oriented individuals who realized that the traditionally amiable, easygoing business practices had become outmoded by the mid-1700s. Lackington bought up unsold stock from publishers and sold it at deeply discounted prices, and he also slashed the prices of new books. These practices earned the hostility of his colleagues, but the adoration of the buying public.

In his diary, Lackington remarked upon the spread of literacy among all classes in England. In a 1791 entry, he marveled that even poor farmers possessed books and would read them with their families, rather than telling stories orally as they had in the past.