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By David Paul Nord

Within the twenty-first century, mass media companies are usually visible as profit-hungry funds machines. It was once a distinct global within the early days of mass conversation in the United States. religion in analyzing tells the impressive tale of the noncommercial non secular origins of our smooth media tradition. within the early 19th century, a couple of visionary marketers made up our minds the time used to be correct to arrive each person in the United States throughout the medium of print. even though they have been smooth businessmen, their publishing firms weren't advertisement companies yet nonprofit societies devoted to the e-book of conventional non secular texts. Drawing on organizational experiences and archival resources, David Paul Nord exhibits how the managers of Bible and spiritual tract societies made themselves into large-scale brands and vendors of print. those firms believed it used to be attainable to put an analogous revealed message into the fingers of each guy, girl, and baby in the USA. applying sleek printing applied sciences and company tools, they have been remarkably winning, churning out hundreds of thousands of Bibles, tracts, non secular books, and periodicals. They fastened titanic campaigns to make books affordable and considerable through turning them into sleek, industrially produced buyer items. Nord demonstrates how spiritual publishers discovered to paintings opposed to the circulate of standard trade. They believed that analyzing used to be too vital to be left to the "market revolution," in order that they grew to become the marketplace on its head, trying to convey their product to each person, despite skill or perhaps wish to purchase. marriage ceremony glossy know-how and nationwide association to a standard religion in studying, those publishing societies imagined after which invented mass media in the USA.

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Additional info for Faith in Reading: Religious Publishing and the Birth of Mass Media in America (Religion in America)

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They could read. They could repent. And they could turn. In the soteriological scheme of Baxter—and of John Eliot and many others—reading was the way. In the end, the Indian mission in New England was largely a failure; few Indians learned to read in the Massachusett language and few were converted to Christianity. But the model of the Indian mission—with its corporate organization, its commitment to literacy and evangelical publishing, and even its devotion to particular books—lived on. 0 In A Call to the Unconverted, Richard Baxter supposed that the Bible texts he opened were plain, unambiguous, transparent.

Over its first twelve years of operations, the MSPCK’s expenditures totaled $7,673, its income $7,741, only $1,200 of which derived from endowment interest. The rest came from annual assessments of members, annual subscriptions by individuals, and special donations raised by small missionary societies, which were sprouting up throughout New England. 24 The Massachusetts Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge also followed its predecessor in its administrative arrangements for the acquisition and distribution of books and tracts.

22 After 1811, the MSPCK supported missionaries, but before then the work was strictly books and tracts. The society conducted its first “general distribution” in 1804, giving away 6,253 tracts and books. In a second major effort in 1806, the society distributed 9,174. Most of these were scattered through the rural reaches of Massachusetts, including Maine; some went to Rhode Island, Virginia, South Carolina, and Georgia. 23 In organization and fundraising, the Massachusetts Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge followed the model of the SPGNA, though with some important changes.

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