‘Some powerful accounts of the coming of the railways are to be found in English novels, but the railways also shaped the development of fiction in material ways. W H Smith and Sons developed on railway concourses (the first outlet was opened at Euston in 1848), selling cheaply priced novels. The firm sponsored two shilling reprints of successful novels. Special ‘railway editions’ were marketed by other publishers for reading on trains – notably George Routledge’s ‘Railway library’ of one shilling reprints. Novel reading and rail travel became closely connected. As the railway network grew, so did W H Smith’s bookselling business: by the end of the century it had well over 1000 station bookstalls.’
And reading a book on a train when it’s raining outside just feels so cosy.