In January 1844 Parley's Illuminated Library published an unauthorised version of the story in a condensed form which they sold for twopence.[n 13] Dickens wrote to his solicitor
I have not the least doubt that if these Vagabonds can be stopped they must. ... Let us be the sledge-hammer in this, or I shall be beset by hundreds of the same crew when I come out with a long story.
Two days after the release of the Parley version, Dickens sued on the basis of copyright infringement and won. The publishers declared themselves bankrupt and Dickens was left to pay £700 in costs. The small profits Dickens earned from A Christmas Carol further strained his relationship with his publishers, and he broke with them in favour of Bradbury and Evans, who had been printing his works to that point.
Dickens returned to the tale several times during his life to amend the phrasing and punctuation. He capitalised on the success of the book by publishing other Christmas stories: The Chimes (1844), The Cricket on the Hearth (1845), The Battle of Life (1846) and The Haunted Man and the Ghost's Bargain (1848); these were secular conversion tales which acknowledged the progressive societal changes of the previous year, and highlighted those social problems which still needed to be addressed. While the public eagerly bought the later books, the reviewers were highly critical of the stories.