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Angus & Robertson and the British Trade in Australian Books, 1930–1970

Angus & Robertson and the British Trade in Australian Books, 1930–1970

The Getting of Bookselling Wisdom

By Jason D. Ensor

This volume details the history of Australia’s oldest and most nationally iconic publishing firm, Angus & Robertson, and its long-term investment in establishing and maintaining a viable commercial arm in London from 1930 to 1970.

Paperback, 268 Pages

ISBN:9781783080588

January 2013

£25.00, $40.00

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  • About This Book
  • Reviews
  • Author Information
  • Series
  • Table of Contents
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About This Book

Despite upheavals in ownership over the past three decades, the name Angus & Robertson remains to date the most recognised book-retailing brand in Australia. However, it is little known that through the incredible efforts of everyone involved in the operations of its London agency, Angus & Robertson was, for a time, also the most recognised Australian bookselling and book publishing brand in the commonwealth.

This book documents a distinctive chapter in the history of Australian book publishing as it addresses how the company dealt with the tension between aspirational literary nationalism and the requirements of turning a profit while attempting to get inside the UK literary market. As well as detailing Angus & Robertson’s complete international relations, the book argues that the company’s international business was a much larger, more successful and complicated business than has been acknowledged by previous scholars. It questions the ways in which Angus & Robertson replicated, challenged or transformed the often highly criticised commercial practices of British publishers in order to develop an export trade for Australian books in the United Kingdom.

‘Angus & Robertson and the British Trade in Australian Books, 1930–1970’ is the first of its kind; no other book in the present literary market records a substantial history of Australia’s largest publisher and its role in the development of Australia’s export book trade. Although a unique piece, this volume also complements existing studies on Angus & Robertson, Australian literature and Australian publishing.

Reviews

‘Jason Ensor's absorbing study of Angus & Robertson's UK publishing ventures in the mid-twentieth century is a valuable addition to the story of Australian cultural history. It is also a timely contribution to the newly transnational and worldly understanding of what is usually thought of as an iconically nationalist institution, Angus & Robertson. We know that the empire wrote back, but Ensor's study shows us how the empire also published back.’ —Philip Mead, University of Western Australia


 ‘Jason Ensor’s meticulously researched book provides a publishing history of unprecedented depth, and also demonstrates how transnational Australian literature has always been. The book is also absorbing on a narrative level, as Ensor provides quirky anecdotes about the challenges of producing books that will resonate even today.’ —Nicholas Birns, Eugene Lang College, The New School for Liberal Arts 


‘A comprehensive, well-researched and finely grained study that adds significantly to our understanding of the contemporary Anglo-Australian book trade history. Much can be learned perusing its pages.’ —David Finkelstein, University of Dundee

Author Information

Jason D. Ensor holds a BA and MA in Australian studies and a PhD in communication studies from Murdoch University.

http://jasonensor.com/ 

Series

Anthem Australian Humanities Research Series

Anthem Global Media and Communication Studies

Anthem Publishing Studies

Anthem Studies in Australian History

Anthem Book History and Print Cultures

Table of Contents

Dramatis Personae; Preface; Acknowledgements; Chapter 1: The Company that Loved Australian Books; Chapter 2: The Overseas Books in Australian Publishing History; Chapter 3: Triangles of Publishing and Other Stories; Chapter 4: The World is Made of Paper Restrictions; Chapter 5: The First Salesman in London; Chapter 6: The Getting of Bookselling Wisdom; Chapter 7: Preparing for ‘Operation London’; Chapter 8: The Shiralee in the North; Chapter 9: A Commercial and Cultural Relationship; Chapter 10: Tomorrow, When London Publishing Ended; Chapter 11: A House is Rebuilt; Chapter 12: The Hidden Parts of Publishing Fortune; Chapter 13: Learning from a Distance; Figures and Tables; Notes; Bibliography; Index 

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