Wisden Print Runs

Part of the mix for the Wisden collector is the underlying debate and intrigue as to just how many Wisdens were published in any particular year. The apparent lack of any detailed information from the publisher has over the years merely encouraged more debate and speculation

Questions to tantalise the collectors such as whether 500 or 250 1864s were issued or the exact number of 1941 hardbacks produced or did 1875 have a third run, abound.

For many collectors part of the fascination for Wisden has included a desire to learn more about the print runs. This has led to many a library visit, many a conversation and hours upon hours of delving through records and historical documents to answer some of these questions. A true labour of love and one that the WCC and others will hopefully, continue to pursue.

If the number of “yellow books” printed is also something that you are interested in then the Information contained in this section may give a very good indication on print runs back to the first issue. Despite all the research undertaken we are offering an educated assessment and we welcome
more information.

For some, indeed most years, the WCC is satisfied with the figures quoted and for other years a certain degree of educated guesswork helped by those hours in the library and general research allows confidence. The WCC is confident of the figures from 1890 onwards and reasonably confident of the ones prior.

To help piece together the print runs, the research has included the use of the micro-film sections of some of the finest libraries in London, along with scouring the internet, speaking to many people and delving through company records and archives all over the country. If anyone can offer other sources of information the WCC would be delighted to hear from you

The minutes of MCC meetings from the late Nineteenth and early Twentieth Century have also proved a wonderful source of information. It is also important when considering print run information to consider the number of complementary copies that have been given away over the years

The intrigue continues to this day. Wisden do not make public the exact print runs for the yearly almanack and they will frequently quote that between 40,000 and 50,000 copies are produced.

Nor do they disclose how many soft back copies are being printed. Wisden are under no obligation to disclose print runs but with such an interest it would be good to know their reasoning.

The Wisdener Manual has the most comprehensive and thought-provoking information on Print Runs. It is available to buy, but here is a little sneak at some of the information we have for a selection of editions from 1864-:

Hardback editions     Paperback editions

1900               1000                             4000
1917               2000                             6000
1921               2000                             6000
1934               2500                             9000
1946               5000                            11000
1965               17000                           15000