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Reprints (also: Neudruck ; reprint ) are considered separate editions of a work in the same physical form and are described with the original edition if they are unchanged or only slightly changed editions. Unchanged reprints also include editions in which only individual volumes / volumes of the original have been reprinted unchanged or editions which have only been shortened by insignificant parts (e.g. advertising pages). A reprint that has been expanded by a foreword, dedication, introduction and / or a retrospectively compiled index is also considered unchanged. An edition that has only been expanded to include an additional commentary volume (e.g. reprint counting volumes 1–5; volumes 1–4 contain the unchanged reprint, volume 5 a newly written commentary) is considered an unchanged reprint. Editions that recompose original texts or that have been expanded with previously unpublished original texts are deemed to be changed reprints.

If the aim of an edition is to come as close as possible to the physical properties of a particular copy, it is called a facsimile .

Reprint and pirated printing

A reprint is the new edition of a publication unchanged in the text, whereby the new edition that a text can experience within a publisher must be distinguished from the usually contractually fixed takeover and publication of the text by another company and from pirated , illegal reprinting is.

The boundaries between reprinting and pirated printing lay in the early printing industry , which worked without copyright , in the agreement that existed between the companies about the takeover. Companies could change entire editions, for example if a competitor could promise to sell the remaining editions far better to its own audience. In such cases, the publisher taking over the title usually placed new title pages on the still unbound goods and, if the title ran successfully, justifiably printed the further editions.

Nowadays, reprinting takes place much more regularly under complex legal conditions: Often rights remain within a group of companies that, for example, reprints the title, which ran in hardcover under a label of the company, in a paperback publisher of the same company. In order to maintain transparency about the investments and amortization , the secondary marketing within the same group will be roughly recorded as a takeover of the title, as would otherwise happen between separate and independent companies.

License agreements are made for reprints by third-party companies . For example, a title can be reprinted in book clubs and made available to special audience groups, it can be given to a third-party paperback publisher for secondary marketing, and it can be sold in full to another publisher. The license agreements usually record a percentage of the sales of reprinted copies.


Reprint was a term used to describe the illegitimate reprint of a successful book until the late 18th century . Another name is pirated or black copy .

Since the incunable era, reprinting has been a way of regulating the market when a book is in high demand. In the second half of the 18th century, the discussions between supporters and opponents of reprinting increased, because with the introduction of net trade and the market dominance of Leipzig bookmakers, the reprint took on glaring proportions. The introduction of net trade by Philipp Erasmus Reich damaged the economy in other parts of Germany, which is why emphasis was put on as a means of defense against net traders. This ultimately prevented the penetration of net trade.

The reprinting experienced a brief boom during the self-publishing phase in the years 1766–1767, to which the established booksellers reacted with emphatic self-publishing books.

The reprinter tried the successful book down to the last detail - e.g. B. re-engraved images - to copy. However, there are also known cases in which the reprinter decided not to print the expensive images of the original and was thus able to offer his product cheaper. The publisher of the original, who often invested large sums of money, was able to try to gain protection from the authorities - e. B. Imperial Printing Privileges  - Protect Against Reprint. Due to the territorial fragmentation of Germany, this was only partially successful, especially since it could happen that reprints were officially funded. This is e.g. This happened , for example, with the reprint of Johann Georg Krünitz's Economic Encyclopedia by Johann Georg Trassler in Brno at the end of the 18th century.

Since the 20th century, the terms reprint and reprint have not been differentiated, so that the term reprint no longer provides any indication of the legality or illegality of a print. see. z. B. the two series published at the same time "New prints of German literature" and "Reprints of German literature".

The production of reprints experienced a high point in the 1960s to 1990s, when on the one hand the technical possibilities for comparatively inexpensive production were available, but on the other hand there was also a great need for reprints of older literature due to the establishment of numerous university libraries. Today reprints have lost a lot of their importance due to the lower purchase budgets of the libraries, but above all due to the increasing digitization of older books. One exception, however, are elaborately produced facsimiles of medieval manuscripts and valuable printed works, which are mainly acquired by collectors or special libraries.

Reprints are now also offered in the book-on-demand process, which means that titles can also be reprinted for which there is only very limited demand - e.g. B. regional historical representations - but this does not change anything about the general loss of importance of reprinting.


  • Gerhard Dünnhaupt : Baroque reprints. Comments on facsimile literary texts . In: From the second-hand bookshop . No. 3 , 1981, ISSN  0343-186X .
  • The reprint in Germany . In: The Gazebo . Volume 34, 1867, pp. 544 ( full text [ Wikisource ]).
  • Portmann, Simon: The reprint in the Old Kingdom: the example of the Karlsruhe reprinter Christian Gottlieb Schmieder. In: Frimmel, Johannes / Augustynowicz, Christoph: The book printer Maria Theresa: Johann Thomas Trattner (1719–1798) and his media empire, Wiesbaden 2019, pp. 115–130.

Individual evidence

  1. German National Library
  2. Reinhard Wittmann: The history of the German book trade . 2nd Edition. CH Beck, 1999, ISBN 978-3-406-42104-4 .