Price Point

3. Price: ½-1d.

The price of chapbooks ranged from a halfpenny to a shilling. The halfpenny tract here printed by J. Marshall for the Cheap Repository for Moral and Religious Tracts is an example of how Christian, middle-class organizations attempted to target downmarket readers with religious conduct literature by capitalizing on the longstanding popularity of the chapbook. However, new versions of chapbook classics such as Jack and the Giants or Fair Rosamond, as well as adaptations of old and new novels, for example Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe (1719) and Waverley, or ‘tis Sixty Years Since (1814), were popular. Even at the lowest prices, significant variation in chapbook form is apparent. Writers and publishers adapted to and furthered increasing demand for literature by diversifying formal and thematic resources, and by manipulating the format and price of downmarket options.