Pilgrim's Progress

7. This undated ‘new edition’ printed in London for C. Sheppard was sold for one shilling. It was neither cheap nor expansive, and ‘embellished with engravings on wood’ is perhaps most indicative of the fluid and complex negotiation of reading markets, particularly with such immensely popular works such as Pilgrim’s Progress. It was not uncommon, for example in the chapbook market later in the Romantic period, for popular publishers to reprint older works in new guises, with a steel-engraved frontispiece, with coloured covers, with new illustrations, with a new introduction, etc. Publishers sought out ways to increase sales and maximize profit margins by reprinting older, out-of-copyright works that were likely stereotyped and thus cheaper to produce. Sixpence was the price point at which downmarket readers generally gained access to the market for literature. The higher price of one shilling justified by whatever additions or alterations was likely a means of locating a more flexible price point for middle-class readers looking for something relatively cheap but not without some distinguishing feature.