HC Deb 08 April 1818 vol 37 cc1212-3

A Petition from Messrs. Cadell and Davies, booksellers and publishers, was presented; setting forth,

"That the Petitioners having observed that a bill has been brought into the House to modify the burthen of delivering eleven copies of books to certain libraries, as directed by a preceding statute, and that several petitions have been presented on the subject, are desirous to state how heavily they are affected by the said delivery; the petitioners at an expense of much greater magnitude than usually attends the publication of books have published a work, intituled, "Murphy's Arabian antiquities of Spain," consisting principally of 100 plates, with some descriptive letter press of the most interesting and important remains of Moorish architecture in Spain; from the cost of the said work, it was necessarily published at the price of 40 guineas, and as it consisted wholly of plates, with no other letter press than a few lines to each describing its contents, the petitioners hoped that they would not be subjected to the grievance of delivering the said 11 copies, which, at the publishing price, would have amounted to 440 guineas; but they are informed that the addition of the letter-press description makes them liable to such delivery, and 8 copies thereof have been already demanded; that on eight other works, that is to say, the Gallery of portraits, Lysons's Cornwall, Cumberland, Derby and the Britannia Depicta, Dr. Clarke's Travels, Farrington's Lakes, and Drake's Shakspeare, the delivery of the said 11 copies have amounted to the sum of 338l. 12s. at the lowest wholesale price; the petitioners have also found that the burthen of the delivery on all the other books which they have published has been a yearly grievance of very considerable amount, while all the expenses of their trade, and of publishing in general, continue unabated, and, as far as the petitioners can ascertain, no advantage of any sort has accrued to them as booksellers from the said delivery, nor do they believe that it increases the circulation of books; on the contrary, it appears to them that many persons read the works in these libraries who would otherwise have been purchasers, and they are satisfied that it is daily operating to discourage authors and artists from undertaking several works, which, but for the delivery, they would have risked: the petitioners, therefore, respectfully beg the indulgence of the House to permit them thus to represent the grievance of the delivery of these 11 copies, both to themselves and to others, and to hope that the House will remove the same, or at least materially diminish it, by enacting that some portion of the published price of each book should be paid by the library demanding the same, or that the House would grant such other relief as in its wisdom shall seem most expedient."