Did the Absence of German Copyright Laws Drive Its Industrial Expansion?
The German book market in the 19th Century was not protected by copyright laws. As a result, publishers were forced to adopt a mass publishing strategy with low-priced paperbacks that provided little room for copycat publishers (simultaneously using hardcovers to skim the high end of the market). As a result, a mass market emerged, which in turn encouraged many authors to write.
There are lots of interesting points that follow, but one I find particularly interesting is how this mass market created lucrative opportunities for technical publishing:
The German proliferation of knowledge created a curious situation that hardly anyone is likely to have noticed at the time. Sigismund Hermbstädt, for example, a chemistry and pharmacy professor in Berlin, who has long since disappeared into the oblivion of history, earned more royalties for his “Principles of Leather Tanning” published in 1806 than British author Mary Shelley did for her horror novel “Frankenstein,” which is still famous today.
Special thanks to Pan Darius Kairos for flagging this one for my attention.