Kehr: Apology of the Reprinting of Books, Kreuznach (1799)

Source: Scanned from a reprint edition (edited by Reinhard Wittmann, München 1981) taken from an the copy held in Universitäts- und Stadtbibliothek Köln

Kehr: Apology of the Reprinting of Books, Kreuznach (1799), Primary Sources on Copyright (1450-1900), eds L. Bently & M. Kretschmer,

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Full title:
Apology of the Reprinting of Books

Full title original language:
Vertheidigung des Bücher-Nachdruks

The young Ludwig Christian Kehr (1775-1848) welcomed the French Revolution in a number of pamphlets. From 1797 he ran a commercial lending library in the Rhineland town of Kreuznach, and in 1799 he set up his own publishing house and bookshop. He published French translations and a series of pirate editions under the title Select Library of the Most Exquisite Writers of Germany. Kehr argued that it was unfair to brand reprinting with the stigma of piracy, since it helped in fact to relieve social injustice in the allocation of books: 'Many well-off book-lovers buy books [...] but they do not in fact read them [...] Less well-to-do readers have to forgo any hope of acquiring good books, which may in fact be indispensable to them, simply because their prices are so excessive as to deter any potential buyers. [...] It is reprinting alone which can curb this baleful evil and counteract it.' Kehr's arguments are typical for advocates of reprinting in the late eighteenth century. The commentary explains the market situation for German books at that time and refers in particular to the situation around 1800 in the French-occupied territories, where towns like Kreuznach were situated.

1 Commentary:

  • Rissel, Heribert, 'Große Literatur aus einer kleinen Stadt: die Raubdrucke des Ludwig Christian Kehr in Kreuznach', 'Jahrbuch für westdeutsche Landesgeschichte' 32 (2006): 321-344

  • Kehr, Ludwig Christian, 'Selbstbiographie' (Kreuznach: Kehr, 1834)

Related documents in this database:
1791: Reimarus: Book Publishing

Author: Ludwig Christian Kehr (1775-1848)

Publisher: N.N. [Ludwig Christian Kehr]

Year: 1799

Location: Kreuznach

Language: German

Source: Scanned from a reprint edition (edited by Reinhard Wittmann, München 1981) taken from an the copy held in Universitäts- und Stadtbibliothek Köln

Persons referred to:
Göschen, Georg Joachim
Kehr, Ludwig Christian
Klopstock, Friedrich Gottlieb
Schmieder, Christian Gottlieb
Wieland, Christoph Martin

Places referred to:

Cases referred to:
Reich v. Schmieder (1774-1783)

Institutions referred to:
Leipzig fair


Enlightenment, the
Napoleonic Wars
barter trade
book fairs
book market
book trade
editions, new
fair use
interest groups
learning, the advancement of
price regulation
privileges, printing
property theory
public good
scholarly writing
societies, publishers'

Responsible editor: Friedemann Kawohl

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