As the result of the disagreements with Chapman and Hall over the commercial failures of Martin Chuzzlewit, Dickens arranged to pay for the publishing himself, in exchange for a percentage of the profits. Production of A Christmas Carol was not without problems. The first printing contained drab olive endpapers that Dickens felt were unacceptable, and the publisher Chapman and Hall quickly replaced them with yellow endpapers, but, once replaced, those clashed with the title page, which was then redone. The final product was bound in red cloth with gilt-edged pages, completed only two days before the publication date of 19 December 1843. Following publication, Dickens arranged for the manuscript to be bound in red Morocco leather and presented as a gift to his solicitor, Thomas Mitton.[n 11]
Priced at five shillings (equal to £24 in 2019 pounds), the first run of 6,000 copies sold out by Christmas Eve. Chapman and Hall issued second and third editions before the new year, and the book continued to sell well into 1844. By the end of 1844 eleven more editions had been released. Since its initial publication the book has been issued in numerous hardback and paperback editions, translated into several languages and has never been out of print. It was Dickens's most popular book in the United States, and sold over two million copies in the hundred years following its first publication there.
The high production costs upon which Dickens insisted led to reduced profits, and the first edition brought him only £230 (equal to £22,000 in 2019 pounds) rather than the £1,000 (equal to £96,000 in 2019 pounds) he expected. A year later, the profits were only £744, and Dickens was deeply disappointed.[n 12]