Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Reading Matters: Five Centuries of Discovering Books” as Want to Read:
Reading Matters: Five Centuries of Discovering Books
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Reading Matters: Five Centuries of Discovering Books

3.58 of 5 stars 3.58  ·  rating details  ·  19 ratings  ·  5 reviews
It is easy to forget in our own day of cheap paperbacks and mega-bookstores that, until very recently, books were luxury items. Those who could not afford to buy had to borrow, share, obtain secondhand, inherit, or listen to others reading. This book examines how people acquired and read books from the sixteenth century to the present, focusing on the personal relationship ...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published November 25th 2008 by Yale University Press (first published October 21st 2008)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Reading Matters, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Reading Matters

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 125)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Mark Feltskog
As a work of historical scholarship, this is without question a first-rate, five-star book. It is exhaustively researched and documented. My review is highly subjective, and reflects what I found to be some tedious and repetitious aspects of the prose and narrative. I have fussed over my assessment of this book for the past couple of days, and in the end decided to qualify my less than complimentary "stars" rating with one simple fact: Margaret Willes is a first-rate historian, and a first rate ...more
Amazing how such a seemingly dry subject as the history of publishing and selling books can be so absorbing. She brings forth interesting historical characters I had never heard of before (with some notable exceptions), and leaves me richer for knowing about them. Very well written, and absolutely to be recommended.
Nonfiction about the libraries of Brits (and the occasional American) and their book buying habits, as well as the customs of the day. Packed full of examples but not much else. A good reminder that books have traditionally been a (male) luxury item and the popularity of fiction is a relatively new phenomenon.
Really should get something like 2.5 stars. I liked a lot of the information in this book, but the writing was WAY less analytical than it needed to be. Pretty disappointing as an academic analysis, and not whimsical ENOUGH to just qualify as a fun book about books.
Mar 11, 2009 Debye rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: other bibliophiles
Shelves: library-stuff
a fascinating looks at printing, publishing and book collecting over the last 5 centuries. this is UK-centric but still a thoroughly enjoyable read if one is interested in the history of books
Lisa marked it as to-read
Dec 14, 2014
Kayla Mckinney
Kayla Mckinney marked it as to-read
Dec 09, 2014
Mike marked it as to-read
Nov 21, 2014
Eli Claire
Eli Claire marked it as to-read
Nov 16, 2014
Lisa marked it as to-read
Nov 08, 2014
Emily Harper
Emily Harper marked it as to-read
Oct 03, 2014
Evan marked it as to-read
Sep 13, 2014
Starr Griggs
Starr Griggs marked it as to-read
Aug 20, 2014
Theresa Berry
Theresa Berry marked it as to-read
Aug 20, 2014
Anvita Mishra
Anvita Mishra marked it as to-read
Jul 29, 2014
Sophia marked it as to-read
Jul 27, 2014
Bookbitten1 marked it as to-read
Jun 10, 2014
Shatha AlDana
Shatha AlDana marked it as to-read
May 23, 2014
Noisywriter marked it as to-read
May 03, 2014
Nkechi Christopher
Nkechi Christopher marked it as to-read
Apr 13, 2014
Elissa marked it as to-read
Mar 19, 2014
Stephanie Molnar
Stephanie Molnar marked it as to-read
Mar 12, 2014
Layla marked it as to-read
Jan 30, 2014
Krystyna marked it as to-read
Jan 23, 2014
Agata marked it as to-read
Jan 23, 2014
Kels marked it as to-read
Dec 15, 2013
Rowena marked it as to-read
Dec 10, 2013
« previous 1 3 4 5 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
Margaret Willes studied modern history and architectural history at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford. She was an editor at three London publishing houses before becoming the Publisher at the National Trust, where she began the Trust's own book imprint. In addition to producing the list that included many illustrated books, she also acted as the author of works such as Memories of Childhood (1997) and Sc ...more
More about Margaret Willes...
Scenes from Georgian Life The Gardens of the British Working Class The Making of the English Gardener: Plants, Books and Inspiration, 1560-1660 Historic Interiors Pick of the Bunch: Twelve Treasured Flowers

Share This Book