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Before 1865, magazines created specifically for women in the United States targeted an elite class of readers. Relatively expensive, they carried little or no advertising and generally contained literary, etiquette, and fashion material. After 1865, readership increased significantly: literacy increased; innovations in printing allowed publication of hundreds of copies in a short time; an expanded railroad, improved roads, and a larger and cheaper postal service permitted more efficient and reliable distribution; and aggressive solicitation of advertisers allowed publishers to reduce prices of the magazines, which now focused on middle-class women. While the entertainment function of the earlier magazines persisted, as did advice columns and articles on cultural affairs and other nonfiction topics, women as consumers received increasing attention, particularly through the newly important ads.