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562 The Publishers' Circular May 15,18 9...
562 The Publishers' Circular May 15 , 18 90
Boo&J&Ilei£$ Of To-Da^.
Boo & j & Ilei £$ of To-Da ^ .
IV . —MR . SAMUEL MULLEN , J . P . Those who interest themselves in colonial
trading will need no detailed information upon the sudden growth of many now famous houses existing in British dependencies . The tale
has been o recently told by an able pen in the columns of the Publishers' Circular _ 7 and our
readers are acquainted with the wonderful , record of certain Australasian bookselling
firms . The subject of this notice , however , is one whose name is equally well known in
London as in Australia ; and , as Mr . Mullen is now residing in Englandour representative
was able to obtain C ? from < J him , some interesting particulars X concerning CJthe business he has
created . The firm as it at present exists is known as Messrs . MelvilleMullen &
Sladebooksellersstationersand , librariansof 262 , and 264 Collins , Street , Melbourne . The , London
office is in Ludgate , Square , and the business carried on here is simp . X ly «/ that of exporting t O
books to the house in Melbourne . A spacious , well-lig hted ground O floor in Ludgat C ? e Square X
has been converted into a convenient suite of officesand here Mr . Mullen was found calmly
busying , himself with such work as devolves upon L the London agent O of the house . Appa
LArently in good health , and quite equal to business care , although he has seen threescore
year 3 slip by , Mr . Mullen welcomed the caller with a quiet unemotional air peculiar to those who have spent long years in the colonies .
He referred to the incidents O «/ of his life in brief sentencesfrom which the listener was left to
select as , he pleased , Mr . Mullen evidently attaching O little or no importance X to any one
particular item . He said : — & Co ' I . served of Dublin my time —that with was Messrs about . McGlashan ? 46 . I
was manager , to Mr . George Robertson in Melbournebut we were apprentices together
in Dublin . , We went out together in 52 , it was the first trip Xof the '' Great Britain . "
The three leading booksellers in Melbourne were Mr . RobertsonMr . E . W . Coleand
myself . We three landed , there on the , same day . It was a coincidence , because Mr . Cole
went out earlier in another ship , but his ship was delayed . On November 12 , ' 52 , we
arrived . As you know , Cole ' s . is an extraordinary 4 1 commence place in d Melbourne business for . mself ia 1859 y
in Collins Street , Melbourne , with a circulating library a la Mudie . That style of thing
was unknown there at the time , and I soon took the lead as a retail bookseller . Robertson was the wholesale man . The business
progressed until last year , when I sold out to Messrs . MelvilleMullen & Slade . I am the
London 4 fc You xou agent were were for a a , popular Donular them . ' man man in in Melbourne Melbourne . 1 I
believe ?' , * WellI was connected with several of the
charitable , institutionsand held the office of honorary treasurer of , the Melbourne Orphan
1 X Asylum . 1 was also an active member of the
Melbourne Shakspeare Society , a flourishing
little me with literary an address coterie when . The I left members also a handsome presented
, — — — — ' ^ ^* - » rw >^ ^ 44 m j album ^ ^ . The ^ P ^ V ^ B Ik Government ^^^ J d appointed A ^ K me Returning Officer of the electoral district in
trate which - — I a lived J . P . , and I was they a strong also made supporter me a magis of ¦» w the A . 4 A -
Conservative Government in Australia , but as a matter of fact it would have been called a
Liberal Government in England . 1 did all I could — — -r to ~ - prevent __ .- the . Americans from intro mwl ^ __ ^_ V . ^ ^_^
-ducing pirated editions into the colonies , and was always on the watch for them like an
excise officer . ' ' How does trade out there compare with
that t ) f England ?' There is a great deal of business done
there ' by the "book fiend . " Then there is a postal X regulation <—> in Victoria by v which all
periodicals published within a specified time are allowed to be posted as newspapers . I was instrumental in getting the Act passed
and the booksellers acknowledged my offices , in that direction . '
' What is the " book fiend ' s" particular line ?'
The Americans are very active in putting together old booksand they do a large
business c ? in the colonies , . They t / get out Bibles with dictionaries and concordances attached
books on household medicine and historical , works . They are merely compiled from old
sources and put together in a mechanical way . These are circulated by the '' book fiends "
who travel all over the colonies . As a rule , these ' fiends " will not leave a house without
an order , and occasionally frighten women who are left Which alone class into subscribing of work meets . ' with the
readiest sale in Australia ? ' The chief thing there _ _ is — — lig ht literature .
There are very few of the leisured classes , and fiction is the great staple . They are fond of
books of adventure and travel . We have arranged ^^^ F * K « 0 fe ^^^ tr ^ k ^ K M |^ h ^ ^ ^^ r ^ m with 9 w *^ ^ F * V 4 * Messrs ^¦^ * ^ . ^^ ~ i ~ ^>^ ^^^ ^ p ^ ^ % ^ . ^ Sampson r ^^^ v ^^ p * m ^ m ** k _^ p ^^ ^^ r ^ m ¦ ^ K ^ Low ^^ b ^^ ^^ w w & ^ fc' ^ fa ' ' Co ^ . ^ ^ - * . to
supply us with a colonial edition of Stanley's ' In Darkest Africa' there . Old books on
Australian travel also sell well , and are becoming 1 very scarce . ' 7
What about school books ' ? ' The school system is free and compulsory , and the Government — g-ives - a _ largjje quan - tity of
o .-- - x books away . Nearly all the State schools are supp j £ , J . lied b .- y the Government __ . , and wherever
the parents plead poverty the books are given . are By a N parliamentary elsons ' and the regulation tender the for books l used is suppy
opened every , twelve months . Messrs . Nelson have been obliged to alter their series to suit
the colonies Is underselling . ' known out there , Mi
Mullen % ' i * New books are uniformly sold at published
teachers pr WLWVAJLVA ices , with . * Of V ^ ' * certain . cours X- 'V ^ « - « , A K ** e - ' deductions there «/ AA ^/« - ~ KS * is ^* underselling * . m AA to ^ v ^ . V ^ A libraries » 9 - * -r « . m * . * - *^\ , and but rw
it is qualified by the expense of carrying on business , rent and wages of assistants being
higher Mr . than Mullen in Great then broug Britain ht . out a copy of the firm ' s monthly circular of literature , which was ftHt . n . KIiflhfM ] about six vfiara aco . and which
consists of about twenty-four pages .
Publishers’ Circular (1880-1890), May 15, 1890, page 562, in the Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition (2008; 2018) ncse.ac.uk/periodicals/pc/issues/tec_15051890/page/10/