Fox Collection: Publishing Ploys

The publishers put out dozens of titles in series with names that suggest an extended family: Aunt Busy Bee's, Uncle Buncle's, Uncle Heart's-Ease, Brother Sunshine's, Cousin Honeycomb's, Grandmama Easy's, and Mamma and Papa Lovechild's (7.1). Presumably, the big sellers in their lists would pull along the also-rans like The Enraged Miller (11.3.5) or The Faithless Parrot (11.2.4).

They are shameless in putting out sequels. The Cock Robin story is spun into The Sad Fate of Cock Robin, Sick Robin and His Kind, Nurse Jenny Wren, Death and Burial of Cock Robin, Cock Robin Alive and Well Again (7.2.3) and Mrs. Dove's Party (7.1.9). In the latter the guilty sparrow is punished by social ostracism:

And though he hopped in quite bold and undaunted,
He found not a bird that in kindness would greet him.


Similarly, The Three Little Kittens live on in The Courtship and Marriage of the Three Kittens, The Death and Burial of the Three Kittens (7.2.6) and The Three Little Kittens, Alive and Well Again (7.2.5).

The back covers of their books are canvases for self-promotion. Little Dame Crump and Her Pig (3.1.10) has these fulsome remarks: "These have been especially printed for us abroad in the best and most artistic manner. Every book being printed in eight to ten different colors. No book in all the series contains anything approaching vulgarity, the Publisher's aim being to furnish amusement coupled with refinement, for our dear little ones." Bow Bells Nursery Tales (15.2.4) simply states, "The Cheapest in the World."

The publishers use series numbers to encourage buying complete sets of unrelated stories (7.2.6); they string out minimal material: Birds on the Wing (8.1.3) appears in eight books with only three birds to a book. In the Favorite Nursery Series (9.1.7) the pages are numbered consecutively in different books of the same size. Mother Hubbard's Grand Party (Box B) markets Dean's Young England's series of Oil Colour Toy Books by including pictures of title characters such as Dame Bantry, Billy Vain and Dame Crumpet in the centerfold spread, pointing out, "It will be an amusement for the children to pick out each character."

Some merchandizing efforts include George Goodwin and Sons, at the Sign of the Bible (1.4.5), Hartford, Connecticut, who give "a liberal discount to those who purchase by the quantity for Sabbath Schools and gratuitous distribution," and Robert Merry's Museum (2.1) periodical, 1843, which gives premiums of previous issues to new subscribers. The Big Ship Great Eastern Alphabet (10.1.7) is sold on board the ship.

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