4.2.11: 1830 - 1910 - Language/genre

As a result of technical developments, population growth and improved education, the production of titles increased in the second half of the nineteenth century and the number of genres grew strongly. The non-specialist journal, the moralistic novel and the general magazine became popular genres and a new market developed for schoolbooks, children's books and the fine arts. The percentage of religious titles decreased, but in relative terms, the religious book continued to be the most important genre. The production of titles increased from over 1700 titles in 1850 to nearly 3000 titles in 1900. Of the 1648 books published in 1862, 1212 were original works and 347 were translated, mostly from German (190), English (89) and French (55). In that year, only 11 books were published in Latin. Of the untranslated works the population read mainly French (36), German (11) and English (8).

Until the second half of the nineteenth century the production of novels consisted mainly of translations (free of rights), followed by the breakthrough of the original novel. This led to the ascent of literary series, which owed the greater part of their success to the lending libraries. The formula of the literary series in parts continued to build on the tradition of literary collections in uniform bindings, but the individual parts of the series now received a title of their own. In 1850 there were about ten literary series, mainly translations of non-contemporary works. This number had increased by 1900 to an estimated 300 to 400. Although the standard print-run in this period was 1000 copies, these series were published in 2000 or even 10,000 copies.

The publication of the Nederlandsche muzen-almanak (1819) by Johannes Immerzeel Jr. marked the beginning of a golden age for the literary almanac. In the 1850s the Aurora almanac under the direction of publisher A.C. Kruseman and editor S.J. van den Bergh became the most prominent literary almanac of the century, with print-runs of 1500 copies in 1850 and no less than 2000 in 1857. In the second half of the century, the number of almanacs began to decline and the anthology became a popular genre, partly intended for educational purposes: between 1850 and 1882 36 Dutch literature anthologies were published.

With the abolishing of the newspaper stamp in 1869, the number of newspapers and periodicals increased explosively. New newspapers were founded at a brisk pace and the existing newspapers reacted with an enlargement of the format and/or a reduction of the subscription rate; that of the Nieuwe Rotterdamsche Courant was reduced by as much as 50%. The number of journals increased in the years 1851-1860 by one third from 154 to 204. The second half of the nineteenth century saw the ascent of a new type of journal, in which only recently published books were discussed such as De leeswijzer (publisher W. Gosler) and De portefeuille (started by publisher G.J. Thieme). By the end of the nineteenth century, the periodical press had become so important that the sales of ordinary books suffered.

author: Chantal Keijsper


materials for covering bindings

Definition: flexible material which completely or partly covers the spine and boards of a book.

cotton bindings

Definition: binding covered with cotton.

cloth bindings

Definition: binding covered with linen.

leather bindings

Definition: binding covered with leather.

vellum bindings

Definition: binding covered with vellum.


Definition: cover of a text block, consisting of two stiff, semi-stiff or flexible boards and a spine, which protects the gatherings or separate sheets of the text block.

general purpose bindings

Definition: hand-made binding executed in simple but strong material with few or no decorations, meant for frequent usage.

hand-made bindings

Definition: binding made by hand.

edition bindings

Definition: bindings which are, contrary to hand-made bindings, machine-made in a number equivalent to the print run of a new publication.

de luxe bindings

Definition: binding executed in valuable material and with special decorations.

prize bindings

Definition: book which (for instance for end-of-year promotion) donated by a grammar school to an excellent pupil; in the Netherlands it was usually bound in vellum and with the coat of arms of the relevant town in gold on the covers.

bindings sewn on thongs which are laced through the covers

Definition: vellum binding of which a part, the laced thong, of each vellum slip is woven through the joints of the binding.

tooled bindings

Definition: binding with a decoration, mainly applied by means of tools.

twin bindings

Definition: two bindings belonging together which share the same lower board; the front of the one binding borders on the spine of the other.

publisher's bindings

Definition: hand-made binding or binding produced by machines, which has not been made to order for the buyer, but which has been affixed to the book by the publisher.