From the early 1830s when the first public railiroads were established, it began to become possible to distribute books, pamphlets, newspapers and mail over wider distances in less time. However, about twenty years were to elapse before bookseller W.H. Smith recognized the strategic value of train stations as places to sell books and other printed matter.
Railroad transportation and railroad stations through which large numbers of people passed, provided a whole new market for printing, publishing, and bookselling. Inexpensive novels or "Yellowbacks", sometimes also called railroad novels, were published to supply a wider range of society. By this time it was also a common practice to publish novels in weekly, fortnightly or monthly parts to spread the cost.