5.2.1: 1910 - heden - Introduction

The nineteenth-century printing industry continued to grow throughout the twentieth century. Factors such as the population increase, the degree of education, prosperity and leisure time resulted in an increase in titles produced and in print runs. Despite competition from mass media such as newspapers, magazines, radio, film, television and the Internet, books consolidated their position. Title production (including reprints) rose from 3000 in 1900 to 6500 halfway through the century and reached a total production of 17,235 titles in 1997. After the first complaints of overproduction were heard in 1910, they never ceased, with the exception of the Second World War. The problem was a result of the sharp increase in both the number of titles and the number of readers, making it even harder for books and readers to find each other. More intense marketing efforts on the part of the publishers were to provide the solution. After the Second World War, the paperback gained a proper foothold, turning books into a real mass medium.

Large publishing companies were formed and the industry was concentrated, first by vertical integration of publisher, bookshop and the printing industry, later by horizontal integration within the branches of business. At the end of the century, there were but few independent publishers left. At the same time, huge changes in the production methods, such as offset printing, photocopying and desk-top publishing meant that the production of printed matter was no longer monopolised by the printing industry. The extensive diffusion of computers at the end of the century meant that publishers' products were no longer exclusively paper publications. The most important of these all-digital products are CD-ROMs and on-line publications, with e-books under development. The increase in the production of printed matter and the importance of other media made the exploitation of intellectual property (copyright) more lucrative. More authors were able to earn a living with their writing. This also resulted in the arrival of the literary agent.

author: A.H. van der Weel



Definition: exclusive right of the author of a work of literature, science or art, or of his or her assignees to make this public and to multiply it, barring the restrictions imposed by law.

copyright acts

Definition: act for the statutory regulations of the author's rights.

Copyright Act of 1817

Definition: granted the exclusive right to publish and put up for sale original writings and works of art to the authors or to another assignee.

Copyright Act of 1881

Definition: (introduced 1 January 1882) granted - in addition to the rights established in 1817 - a very limited performance right for dramatic-musical works and stage plays if the author had complied with a number of conditions and formalities.

Copyright Act of 1912

Definition: granted - in addition to the previously established rights - protection to works of visual art, architecture, photography, film and applied art without the formalities required by the first two copyright acts. Changes to a work were only allowed to bemade by the author or with his/her permission