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Typo: A Monthly Newspaper and Literary Review, Volume 4

Colonial Publishing

page 78

Colonial Publishing

No business in this colony is in a more chaotic condition than that of publishing. Nearly every printer, and every large bookseller, is a publisher, and there is no means by which the numerous books, that issue from the press can be recorded or classified. When it is made compulsory to send copies to some State library, there will be an official register; at present it is impossible to know what works appear in the colony. Speaking not long ago to a bookseller in a large way of business of a well-edited periodical, he professed entire ignorance of its existence, though it had been published for two years in his own city, and had a good circulation. The only organ of the Trade is our own journal; the excellent magazine published in Wellington under the name of the Monthly Review makes a very secondary and casual matter of the review department; and the fitful reviews in the daily press are generally the work of any member of the staff who has least to do at the time—the shipping-reporter, or horse-reporter, it may be. To advertise a new book in the hundred-and-fifty newspapers of the colony is a costly matter—to advertise in one only in each centre would effectively raise the ire of all the others. The only literary venture that was thoroughly advertised in the colonial press was the short-lived Zealandia, and this preliminary expense made a grevious inroad in the projectors' capital. The most useful books published in New Zealand have at the best but a provincial reputation, and works that if placed properly before the trade, would sell rapidly by hundreds, go off slowly in dozens. There are now many collectors of colonial works, both at home and in the colonies, and any one of them can testify to the difficulty he finds in ascertaining what new books are published. We have from the first devoted a department to reviews of new colonial books—but in the great majority of cases they have been such as we have obtained in the ordinary manner for our own library. As Typo reaches every printing-office, many of the booksellers, and all the public libraries in the colony, it affords an unequalled medium for systematically recording the new publications, primarily in New Zealand, and secondarily in Australia. Is it too much to ask that publishers will assist us in this respect, by forwarding to us full titles and other particulars of each new book or pamphlet published, and each new periodical started? Such information we will insert free of charge, and publications sent for review will have careful attention. Of course we do not object to receive advertisements also; and a book-advertisement in our pages would cover a wider field than in any other paper in New Zealand.