Where does the word “chapbook” come from and What does chapbook mean?

The chapbook still circulated when we were kids, though it was begun in the early nineteenth century.

It and its kind were, in a way, the forerunners of the modern “comic” books, though the reading matter in any that came our way, at least, could never be called lurid.

The contents, short stories, poems, tales by explorers, of those presented to us at Christmas were highly moral, as I recall, and the illustrations most demure.

But the name of these board-covered cheap volumes was in no wise connected with the young “chaps” who read them; originally they were “chapmen’s books,” some of the various items sold by retailers or peddlers, chapmen , especially in England.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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