Information Studies


Rachel Calder


The focus of my research is the book trade from the Victorian period to the present day. I am studying part-time for a Phd that evaluates the impact of the publications of Joseph Whitaker (1820-1895), particularly The Bookseller (1858) and The Reference Catalogue of Current Literature (1874). The Bookseller, still the book trade journal, inspired dozens of trade journals in the 1860s that provided a means of communication between manufacturers and retailers and that gave the retailers some agency and influence that they had not previously had. The Reference Catalogue, an early form of database of books in print, was the forerunner of British Books in Print and contributed the core bibliographic data for Neilsen, the current global provider of data analytics for the book trade.

I have spent most of my professional life working in the book trade and have run a small, long-established literary agency since 1993. I have a deep and broad knowledge of how books are written, produced, marketed, and distributed and my research interests lie in how these processes changed over time in response to social and economic changes and innovations in technology and business practice.



‘The Book Trade Press’ in The Edinburgh History of the British and Irish Press 1800-1900, ed. David Finkelstein, forthcoming 2019

‘Macmillan & Co in Cambridge 1843-1858: A Provincial Start-up in the Victorian Book Trade’ in Publishing History, Vol. 77, 2017



2014 A. Garr Cranney Outstanding Dissertation/Thesis Award of the History of Reading Special Interest Group of the International Reading Association (USA) for MA dissertation ‘Macmillan & Co in Cambridge: 1843-1858’