There are a lot of real antiquarian books that appear almost as characters in my novel, The Bookman’s Tale. Shakespeare’s First Folio, the Bad Quarto of Hamlet, the Kelmscott Chaucer, Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary of the English Language all play their part in telling the story of Peter Byerly and his search for the artist of a mysterious portrait that resembles his late wife. But most of the books in the story, including all those mentioned above, are a bit pricey for this collector. Only two copies of the 1603 Bad Quarto of Hamlet (the first printing of the play) exist. If a third copy were to come to life, it would probably be worth millions. I did buy a copy of one book in the story, however—a pamphlet really, titled “Was Lord Bacon the Author of Shakespeare’s Plays.” In my novel, the Victorian bookseller Benjamin Mayhew reads this pamphlet several times over in 1856. It was hot off the presses then, and while this was not the first salvo in the battle to prove that someone other than William Shakespeare of Stratford wrote the plays attributed to him, it is fairly early. The booklet, as Peter discovers, was written by William Henry Smith, who was not only a believer in Francis Bacon as author of the Shakespearean canon, but was also responsible for the success of the chain of newsagents that bears his family name to this day. In his role as Lord of the Admiralty, he was parodied by Gilbert and Sullivan as the “Monarch of the Sea” in H.M. S. Pinafore. Smith got the clever idea that people on the train might like to read, and he put up newsstands in railway stations. Only a decade earlier, people traveled by coaches, which bounced around too much to allow for reading. Now, I don’t believe that Bacon wrote Shakespeare’s plays (though I did read Smith’s pamphlet several times over while working on my novel); however, I am grateful to Smith for coming up with the idea of reading while traveling. So, if you like to read on your commute, or on a plane, or while your spouse is driving—remember old William Henry Smith—a landlubber who lead the Navy, a man who believed Shakespeare wasn’t Shakespeare, but also the fellow who gave us something to read on our journey.