The Methodist Book Concern in America

[Thomas à Kempis].
An Extract of the Christian’s Pattern, or, A Treatise of the Imitation of Christ, Written in Latin by Thomas à Kempis, published by John Wesley.
Philadelphia: William Prichard and Peleg Hall, and sold by John Dickins, 1792. (04650)

John Dickins (1747–1798) was the first steward of the Methodist Book Concern in America, which was founded in 1789. His small rented office on Fourth Street between Race and Arch Streets in Philadelphia was America’s first central repository for Methodist books. The exhibited book, one of the first publications of the Methodist Book Concern, includes one of the earliest advertisements for books available for sale from its Philadelphia office, all published between 1789 and 1792. At the end of the advertisement, Dickins appended his usual request that customers not purchase Methodist books from unaffiliated booksellers: “As the profits of these books are for the general benefit of the Methodist Societies, it is humbly recommended to the Members of the said Societies, that they will purchase no books which we publish, of any other person than the aforesaid John Dickins, or the Methodist Ministers and Preachers in the several Circuits, or such persons as sell them by their consent.”

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Books for Americans
The Methodist Book Concern in America