[PW] three old questions, again

Daphne Drewello drewello at daktel.com
Sun Feb 14 13:23:08 PST 2021

Mark Halpern asked

I wondered why, in citing books, scholars still include the "place of publication", meaning nowadays the head office of the publisher.  Up until the early 19th century, it was important to know where the publisher was located, because that's where you had to go if you wanted the book.  If it was published by Jacob Tonson, you went to Tonson's shop to buy the book.  Nowadays, of course, you go to your neighborhood book store or order the book through Abebooks.  The place where the publisher's main office is located is of no use to you; if you showed up there and said that you wanted to buy one of their books, they would think you were an eccentric, to put it gently, and direct you to the nearest bookstore.  Can anyone suggest a rational, practical reason why the formal citation of a book includes the publisher's main office, which is usually New York or London? 

I don't know if this helps at all, but when I want to borrow a book through ILL, I check the place of publication in the record to make sure I'm requesting the edition I want in case there is more than one edition of the same work.

Daphne Drewello 
Retired Librarian
Jamestown, ND

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