Archibald Constable was born in Fife. After being apprenticed to a bookseller he set up on his own in 1795. His specialisation in Scottish historical and literary books drew the attention of many in Edinburgh society. He bought the Scots Magazine in 1801 and published the Edinburgh Review the following year. He was very forward thinking in providing large sums for his authors and even providing advances for work that was still to be produced. One of his greatest selling authors was Sir Walter Scott. Following a financial crash in 1826 Scott's attempts to pay off his huge debts through his own literary efforts was detrimental to his health. Archibald was relatively unperturbed by the crash and started to publish his Constable's Miscellany in 1827. More cheaply produced and moderately priced than his former publications, the Miscellany brought literature to a much wider reading public.
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