The firm of Carey & Lea of Philadelphia was one of the most important publishers in America in the 1820's and 1830's. Called the first "publisher in the modern sense,"(1) Carey & Lea set out to create authors as market forces. They took the financial risks of such ventures, and worked to cultivate their markets: it is particularly as a market-savvy firm that they are recognized. And it is in the field of fiction that they are best remembered, "their speed, skill, and resourcefulness in exploiting" that market.(2) The focus of this paper will be on the nature and flow of their business during the years from 1833 to 1836. These years were between the flush years of the 1820's and the great financial disasters of the late 1830's. Through a combination of business and cultural factors, this was also a crucial time in the formation of a fiction market, in which Carey & Lea, as the premier publisher of their day, played a leading role.