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necessary in editing to bring entries into their proper relation to each other has been very considerable.
The number of books recorded this year in our main list falls somewhat below the record of the previous one, being 4437 in 1887, as against 4676 in 1886. This, however, is without special significance, as publishers' carefulness in reporting their issues varies considerably from year to year, and the production is perhaps not less in 1887 than in 1886. Our system of bibliographical record, nevertheless, has on the whole become better year by year, so that our columns present a fairly adequate key to the current literature of America. But with all the careful work which has been done from this office to obtain full information from all quarters, we find, nevertheless, that a considerable number of small or special publishers who had issued books during 1887 had not reported their publications. A special circular was sent to all such of whom we could find any trace, and the results are given in the Supplementary Index, the starred titles being those of books which are not included in the lists by publishers which form the last division of this volume. It is most discouraging to the conscientious and careful bibliographer that so many publishers should fail in the simple matter of putting their works on record, especially since it involves only the cost of a little trouble and a two-cent postage-stamp. The list of publishers is about the same as last year, including as before a number of houses which are printers or publishers of but one or two incidental books. The number of the important names in the publishing trade does not seem to vary greatly from year to year.
So many questions have been asked, in connection with the discussion of international copyright, as to the relative proportion of books of American authorship and foreign reprints, that we endeavored to make some compilation of statistics on this subject. The lack of information as to copyright entry, and other difficulties connected with the task, have made it impossible to gather such statistics in any presentable shape. We trust, however, before many years, to have our records so nearly perfect as to make possible adequate report of this sort from year to year.
This volume, of course, is one part in the general American Catalogue system. The next large volume is to be in 1890. Throughout the work, the editor has to say that no one can be more sensible than himself of its sins of omission and of commission, and he can only ask the aid of the patrons of the successive volumes in supplying omissions and in otherwise giving their co-operation in making American trade bibliography as perfect as may be practicable.
R. R. BOWKER.