The American Language Historical Context

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Reading Habits in America during the 1910s

The 1910s saw significant changes in the reading habits of the American public. The market for books grew substantially. In order to sign on the best writers, many publishers approached them with ideas for planned works rather than waiting for completed manuscripts to consider. Books about war had an immediate audience in the years leading up to, during, and after World War I. Houghton Mifflin released more than one hundred war-themed books between 1914 and 1919. Means of distribution had to change with expanding readerships. Before World War I, 90 percent of books were sold by door-to-door salesmen and through catalogs. The rise of the bookstore followed; in 1914 there were 3,501 bookstores, mainly in urban areas, but this number soon grew and locations spread. A new generation of publishers entered the business, including Alfred A. Knopf, the publisher of The American Language.

Americans also enjoyed...

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This section contains 730 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The American Language Study Guide
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Nonfiction Classics for Students
The American Language from Nonfiction Classics for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.