Pride and Prejudice was published on January 28, 1813. Thomas Egerton, bookseller and publisher, purchased the copyright for £110. Prior to this, her brother, Henry Austen, who was a banker had been circulating the book among circles of friends and acquaintances who could afford to buy books for pleasure-reading. Due to his efforts, the book had developed quite a reputation prior to Egerton’s offer to Miss Austen.
In five months after publication, the book sold over 1,000 copies! A 2nd edition was published that same year and a 3rd in 1817. Considering there was no internet and no social media at the time, that's amazing.
Today, her novel has sold more than 20 million copies! As is often the case, Miss Austen was never recognized with literary awards in her lifetime. Fortunately, her words live on.
For those not familiar with Pride and Prejudice, below is a quick catch-up.
Elizabeth Bennet’s household is all aflutter with the news that a wealthy gentleman named Charles Bingley has rented a nearby manor. There are five unmarried daughters in the Bennet household, and their parents are anxious to see than all married. The Bennets attend a ball where Bingley is not only in attendance, but is quite taken with Jane Bennet. Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy is not nearly as exuberant over the evening’s festivities and refuses to dance with Elizabeth.
However, subsequent social events finds Mr. Darcy becoming attracted to Elizabeth. When her sister Jane is caught in a downpour on her way to the Bingley mansion, she becomes ill. Elizabeth is forced to travel through inclement weather to tend to her sister. Bingley’s sister is a bit of a shrew, especially when she realizes Darcy is attracted to Elizabeth.