Book Chapter

The Lives of Scottish Book Traders, 1500-1800



Mann A (2008) The Lives of Scottish Book Traders, 1500-1800. In: Mulhern M, Beech J & Thompson E (eds.) Scottish Life and Society: The Working Life of the Scots. A Compendium of Scottish Ethnology, Volume 7. Scottish Life and Society: A Compendium of Scottish Ethnology, 7. John Donald (an imprint of Birlinn Limited).

First paragraph: From the arrival of the printed book in Scotland in the late fifteenth century, the advent of the press in 1508 and to the great flowering of print culture in the Scottish Enlightenment, the progress in Scottish intellectual culture depended on a diverse band of book merchants and book makers. This group, varied in wealth, capacity for inventiveness, political and religious beliefs and links with the establishment, nevertheless had much in common. Not least of these common bonds was the requirement to ply their trade in the same ‘national crisis’ of Scotland’s early modern period. From Flodden in 1513 to Culloden in 1745 warfare, religious revolution, civil war and economic collapse battered Scottish society. These political and religious upheavals presented a rigorous challenge for the Scottish printer and book trader before the outstanding successes of the Scottish Enlightenment. After all, print merely precipitated and reflected the qualities of national history. But even before the Enlightenment we should marvel at the success and resilience of Scottish print culture and its mediators.1

Book Trade; Printing; Early Modern; Scotland; Social History; Bookselling; Booksellers and bookselling Scotland 16th century; Booksellers and bookselling Scotland 17th century; Booksellers and bookselling Scotland 18th century

Title of seriesScottish Life and Society: A Compendium of Scottish Ethnology
Number in series7
Publication date31/12/2008
PublisherJohn Donald (an imprint of Birlinn Limited)
Publisher URL…s-9781904607854/
ISBN978 1 90460785 4

People (1)


Dr Alastair Mann
Dr Alastair Mann

Senior Lecturer, History