Introduction to the Scottish Book Trade Index (SBTI)

Arrangement of entries

The entries in the Scottish Book Trade Index are arranged as follows:

  1. Surname in capitals followed by the first name or names
  2. Trade in italics
  3. Name of the town or towns where people were active.

Alternative forms of names appear in brackets. The entries are arranged in alphabetical order first by surname and then by town. Addresses appear in chronological order with the inclusive dates for each address. Where an address is not known for particular dates the name of the town is repeated.

Some entries contain biographical and trade information about the person or firm. This is followed by references indicating where the information can be found.

Sources used

A number of secondary sources have been used to compile the Scottish Book Trade Index. They include:

  • Imprints of 18th-century Scottish books in the National Library
  • Advertisements and news items in 18th-century Scottish newspapers
  • H G Aldis, 'A List of Books Printed before 1700' (Edinburgh, 1904)
  • Publications of the Scottish Record Society
  • Town directories
  • General directories for Scotland.

You can also see the complete list of secondary sources.

SBTI's function

The Scottish Book Trade Index is very much a work in progress. It is not comprehensive, and it represents only a fragment of even the published sources for the Scottish book trade. Its function is to provide a summary of the information on book trade personnel, and to direct you to further sources.


In the late 1970s the Eighteenth Century (now English) Short Title Catalogue requested that the National Library index the imprints of 18th-century Scottish books. This first step resulted in the Library's Imprint Index. Cards were systematically created for all people involved in the book trade who appear in 18th-century Scottish imprints and Scottish newspapers. The Imprint Index consists of cards. Each card contains a single piece of information, for example an entry from an imprint or an advertisement in a newspaper. They are arranged under the names of the book trade people.

More recently information from H G Aldis, 'A List of Books Printed before 1700' (Edinburgh: Edinburgh Bibliographical Society, 1904) has been added. For more on Aldis, see Scottish Books 1505-1640 (Aldis Updated).

Scottish Record Society publications also have a lot of information about members of the book trade. They cover:

  • Apprentices and burgesses of Edinburgh
  • Burgesses of Glasgow
  • Registration of wills for the whole of Scotland up to 1800
  • Edinburgh and Glasgow marriages
  • Marriages held in Holyroodhouse and the Canongate Kirk in Edinburgh
  • Burial registers of Greyfriars Kirkyard up to 1700.

The Imprint Index project was managed by the late John Morris, former Assistant Keeper of Antiquarian Books at the National Library. He compiled the Scottish Book Trade Index almost single-handedly, and continued to improve the Index after his retirement in 1997.

For questions and comments, contact Rare Book Collections:

Fax: 0131 623 3888
Tel: 0131 623 3899


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