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Books

25 Hen. 8. c. 15. intituled, “An Act for Printers and Binders of Books.”

“'Whereas by the Provision of a Statute made in the first Year of the Reign of King Richard the Third, it was provided in the same Act, That all Strangers repairing into this Realm, might lawfully bring into the said Realm printed and written Books, to sell at their Liberty and Pleasure; (2) by Force of which Provision there hath come to this Realm sithen the making of the same, a marvellous Number of printed Books, and daily doth; and the Cause of the making of the same provision; seemeth to be, for that there were but few Books, and few Printers within this Realm at that Time, which could well exercise and occupy the said Science and Craft of Printing.

Nevertheless, sithen the making of the said Provision, many of this Realm, being the King's natural Subjects, have given them so diligently to learn and exercise the said Craft of Printing, that at this Day there be within this Realm a great Number cunning and expert in the said Science or Craft of Printing, as able to exercise the said Craft in all Points, as any Stranger in any other Realm or Country: (3) And furthermore, where there be a great Number of the King's Subjects within this Realm, which live by the Craft and Mystery of Binding of Books, and that there be a great Multitude well expert in the same, yet all this notwithstanding, there are divers Persons that bring from beyond the Sea great Plenty of printed Books, not only in the Latin Tongue, but also in our maternal English Tongue, some bound in Boards, some in Leather, and some in Parchment.

They them sell by retail, whereby many of the King's Subjects, being Binders of Books, and having no other Faculty wherewith to get their Living, be destitute of Work, and like to be undone, except some Reformation herein be had: Be it therefore enacted by the King our Sovereign Lord, the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and the Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by Authority of the same, That the said Proviso, made in the first Year of the said King Richard the Third, from the Feast of the Nativity of our Lord God next coming, shall be void and of none Effect.”

s. 4. “Provided alway, and be it enacted by the Authority aforesaid. That if any of the said Printers or Sellers of printed Books, inhabited within this Realm, at any Time hereafter happen in such wise to inhance or increase the Prices of any such printed Books, in Sale or Binding, at too high and unreasonable Prices, in such wise as Complaint be made thereof unto the King's Highness, or unto the Lord Chancellor, Lord Treasurer, or any of the Chief Justices of the one Bench or of the other; that then the same Lord Chancellor, Lord Treasurer, and two Chief Justices, or two of any of them, shall have Power and Authority to enquire thereof, as well by the Oaths of twelve honest and discreet Persons, as otherwise by due Examination by their Discretions.

(2) And after the same inhancing and increasing of the said Prices of the said Books and Binding shall be so found by the said twelve Men, or otherwise by Examination of the said Lord Chancellor, Lord Treasurer and Justices, or two of them; that then the same Lord Chancellor, Lord Treasurer and Justices, or two of them at the least, from Time to Time shall have Power and Authority to reform and redress such inhancing of the Prices of printed Books from Time to Time by their Discretions, and to limit Prices as well of the Books as for the Binding of them; (3) and over that the Offender or Offenders thereof being convict by the Examination of the same Lord Chancellor, Lord Treasurer and two Justices, or two of them, or otherwise, shall lose and forfeit for every Book by them sold, whereof the Price shall be inhanced for the Book or Binding thereof, three Shillings four Pence; the one Half thereof shall be to the King's Highness, and the other Half to the Parties grieved that will complain upon the same in Manner and Form before rehearsed.” (Sections 2. & 3. Repealed by 3 Geo. 4. c. 41. s. 2.)

By the Act 3 & 4 Will. 4. c. 52. s. 58. Books are absolutely prohibited to be imported for Sale, being “first composed or written or printed in the United Kingdom, and printed or reprinted in any other Country, except Books not reprinted in the United Kingdom within Twenty Years; or being Parts of Collections the greater parts of which had been composed or written abroad.”

By the “Table of New Duties, 1834,” in 4 & 5 Will. 4. c. 89., the Customs Duties Inwards are for “Books in the Foreign living Languages, being of Editions printed in or since the Year One thousand eight hundred and one, bound or unbound, the cwt. 2l. 10s.”

2 & 3 Vict. c. 23. s. 1. Drawbacks on Excise Duty. “For every Pound Weight Avoirdupois of printed Books in perfect and complete Sets, or, if periodical Publications in perfect Parts or Numbers, and of blank, plain, or ruled Account Books, whether bound or unbound made of or printed or ruled on Paper made and charged with Duty in the United Kingdom, and which shall be exported as Merchandize, a Drawback of One Penny Halfpenny.” See Paper.

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