Sunday, December 21, 2014

Dickens Great Financial Failure

Charles Dickens book A Christmas Carol sold six thousand copies it's first week. A smashing success. But Dickens had put up his own money for production costs and they included color ingravings and an ornate cover. By the end of the accounting he barely made costs and had to turn to public speaking to make ends meet.

But it gets worse. We are now used to hearing how books are pirated and downloaded for free. Many see the end of traditional publishing in this now. But of course we think back on Dickens time as the golden age where people paid good money for books with no recourse to he internet. Well, there was the condensation. People took Dickens book and basically reprinted it with very minor changes. This was as standard practice. And within weeks of publication there were many of these condensations.

And to make matters even worse. Theatrical productions sparing up all over London. Pirated versions of a Christmas Carol where Dickens received nothing. He even went to see a few of them. Charles Dickens made money for the rest of his life primarily through reading A Christmas Carol to paying audiences. So the more things change the more they stay the same.

 Of course Dickens great financial failure became our great gain.

Real Santa

Books by William Hazelgrove