Huge publishing success

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Since 1844 G&H had been teaching mathematics-based subjects, and after seven years they had a body of experience which they decided to publish. The first volumes of what became G&H’s Mathematical Series appeared in 1851, and the full collection, twelve titles, was ready in 1864, including manuals on Algebra, Arithmetic, Astronomy, Geometry (two volumes), Hydrostatics, Mathematical Tables, Mechanics, Optics, The Steam Engine, Tides and Currents and Trigonometry. Some titles saw up to sixteen editions before 1899. We only have good production data from Longmans for 1854–68, showing about 6,000 volumes per year, yielding an estimated 250,000 volumes for 1851–91. At 2s 6d per book, if each author received 5% of the total sales, this made an income of c. £40 per year (£1,726.40 at today’s value). Several publishing houses were involved over time: Hodges and Smith in Dublin, and Longmans and Cassells in London. Adverts can be found in Irish newspapers, in the London Times and provincial papers, and in trade magazines such as the American Publishers’ Circular and Literary Gazette and The Bookseller, issued in Britain and America. None of the Irish newspapers advertised any other manual covering those or similar subjects. There were other authors from TCD writing books on similar subjects but these advertised only in the yearly TCD Calendar.

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