1. For the average factory or agricultural worker in eighteenth or early-nineteenth century Britain – the majority of the population – new novels were expensive. Novels could be borrowed in many places as circulating libraries increased in number, but even these were well beyond the means of most people. Reading societies, likewise, required entrance and yearly subscription fees. In short, reading new works of fiction was a luxury dependent on leisure time, education and financial independence. This narrative aims to provide a brief history of the chapbook, highlighting the formal and thematic variety of the chapbook as a changing form put to various uses throughout the Romantic period.