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N.S.W. Bookstall Company N.S.W. Bookstall Company i(A74419 works by) (Organisation) assertion (a.k.a. N.S.W. Bookstall; New South Wales Bookstall Company; NSW Bookstall Company)
Born: Established: 1879 Sydney, New South Wales, ; Died: Ceased: 1957 Sydney, New South Wales,
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The New South Wales Bookstall Company began as a chain of railway and ferry terminal bookstalls established by Henry Lloyd. In 1897 following Lloyd's death, the company was taken over by A. C. Rowlandson (q.v.), who recognised that selling 'shilling travel reading' was consistent with publishing it. He turned the Bookstall Company into the first mass-market paperback publishing venture in Australia.

Starting with Steele Rudd's Sandy's Selection published for the Christmas market of 1904, Rowlandson published 'almost 300 "Bookstall Series" titles, which were nearly all fiction'. He believed that his readers wanted 'books about things they knew', and during his time Bookstall fiction was local in origin and in theme. The 'Bookstall Series' of paperback novels, which continued until 1928, included over 120 local authors including Norman Lindsay, Charles White, Sumner Locke, John Sandes, Vance Palmer, Hilda Bridges, Sydney Partrige, Mabel Forrest, Beatrice Grimshaw, Jack McLaren and Ernest O'Ferrall (qq.v.). A number of Bookstall titles provided scripts for silent films, and the company's biggest seller, On Our Selection (1909), originally published by the Bulletin, was filmed a number of times.

The Bookstall Company published 'over 350 titles in over a thousand reprints from the end of the 1880s to 1946'. From 1904 to 1922 'approximately 4.5 million copies were sold, and total sales in 1904-46 were over five million'. Rowlandson actively promoted his books, and newspapers and periodicals of the time carry Bookstall publicity.

A 'diminishing stream of rather disappointing titles, and later of cheap American reprints', appeared after Rowlandson's death in 1922. In 1924, the Bookstall Company moved into the seven-storey Rowlandson House in Castlereagh Street, Sydney, the first building it owned. Apart from On Our Selection, earlier Bookstall Company titles were not reprinted, even though the company had acquired all publication rights to almost every book it had published. In 1945 it claimed to be printing 'general literature, fiction, book-comics, juvenile books and text-books' (Australian Writers & Artists' Market 153). The company's assets were sold up in 1957 or early 1958.

Source: 'Case-study: The New South Wales Bookstall Company: Paperback Phenomenon', A History of the Book 1891-1945: A National Culture in a Colonised Market, Volume 2, M. Lyons and J. Arnold eds, UQP, St Lucia, 2001, pp. 36-41.

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Last amended 2 Jul 2007 12:56:47
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