Publishing companies resilient in the face of continued paper shortages
London, 5 February 1918 - Fewer books were published in the United Kingdom during 1917 than in the previous year, according to figures produced for the Publishers’ Circular and Booksellers’ Record.
The total number of books published last year – 8,131 – marks a decline of about 1,000 on the figure for 1916.
Given the difficulties associated with work of book production, in particular the shortage of cover boards used in the binding process, the decline is being interpreted as an indication of the resilience of the industry rather than as a source of concern.
It is nevertheless notable that the sharpest decline has been in fiction, whereas the greatest increase has been seen in history books, a fact which gives the Irish Times some cause for comfort: ‘We may suppose that those who are studying the past are chiefly those who propose to mould the future; and we need not be afraid of our reformers so long as they do not discard the wisdom of the ages.’
[Editor's note: This is an article from Century Ireland, a fortnightly online newspaper, written from the perspective of a journalist 100 years ago, based on news reports of the time.]