The purpose of this paper is to investigate the way in which a series of related printing businesses, owned by members of the Gye and Balne families in Bath and London from 1771 to 1844, selected and marketed their titles when they ventured into book printing and publishing.
The basis of this research is extensive archival research analyzing primary sources, mainly the books and ephemera printed by the various firms, supported by information in contemporary newspapers and journals and in biographies of printers and publishers.
The focus of these businesses was not solely on production, but marketing was also considered, and each title was conceived and produced with a particular market in mind. In doing so evidence is provided of relatively advanced marketing strategies in use before 1850 and thus the paper questions the validity of the four eras model of marketing history.
The available primary sources are limited; while a number of books and other printed items have survived there are no extant accounts, correspondence, or other records for any of the firms that were studied.
There has been very little research into the way small businesses during this period approached the marketing of their products. This paper is a potential model for further such historical research and also provides an example of how research into specific companies can illuminate the larger history of marketing, potentially changing the way in which we understand the development of consumer society.
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