Colportage is the distribution of publications, books, religious
tracts by carriers called 'colporteurs'. The term does not necessarily
refer to religious book peddling. Book peddlers were travelling vendors
of books. Door-to-door book peddlers of the 18th and 19th centuries,
also known as 'book canvassers', used to carry special 'sample books',
a kind of "preview", with table of contents, sample illustrations and
some text, designed to advertise the book in question
...ready to go...
'Study of a Colporteur'
by Jean Antoine Watteau (1684-1721)
'Le Colporteur' aka 'The Pedlar',
by Hieronymus Bosch (circa 1450–1516)
The colporteur anonymous,
Woman selling almanacs, 1688