5.3.1: 1910 - heden - Introduction

Most of the 3,000 or so books published in 1900 and the c. 6,500 books published in 1939 found their way from the publisher to the reader through general bookshops. In the twentieth century, the Centraal Boekhuis (CB) was the main intermediary in this distribution chain. International orientation and the blurring of borders in the period after 1945, was mirrored in the increased interest in translated books which increasingly took the form of paperbacks.

Bookshops became more accessible after the Second World War; establishments where one waited at the counter for the required book gave way to walk-in shops. After the war, besides the general and specialist bookshops, the antiquarian bookshops and remainders bookshops came into existence as were other outlets such as stationers, department stores, newspaper stands, tobacconists, supermarkets, mail order companies, book clubs and Internet bookshops. They all had a part in the distribution of books among the reading public at the end of the twentieth century. This distribution is actively supported by a joint promotional policy for publishers and bookshops though the foundation for the Collective Propaganda of Dutch Books (CPNB), founded in 1930, which organises the annual book week.

As early as the beginning of the twentieth century, the reading room movement advocated the establishment of public libraries. Their breakthrough was not until the 1950s. The activities of the provincial library centre and the affiliated local libraries and mobile libraries established a close-knit service network which extended out into the rural areas. Shop libraries and popular libraries thus became a thing of the past.

author: N. van Dijk