According to the Imperial War Museum, 800,000 copies were made of this poster and distributed all over Britain, placed on the sides of buildings and billboard-type structures for all to see, with smaller versions found in places like shops, banks, trains, buses and railway stations. The problem with this poster was that it was very unpopular with the British people, who felt that the wording "You" and "Us" separated the people from the government and monarchy, and that winning the war was placed solely on the shoulders of the people. The world resolution didn't go over well either, because the British prided themselves on always being resolute - they are, after all, a "pull-up-your-socks-and-carry-on: kind of people.
That brings us to the third poster, the infamous Keep Calm and Carry On
It is believed that 2.5 million copies of this poster were printed, and apparently some were distributed. The reason this on was never used had nothing to do with the unpopularity of the first two posters. Rather, it had everything to do with the idea of a German invasion, something that the government thought was a pretty definite possibility. This poster was only supposed to be used when that invasion happened and since it never did, it never got used.
Fast forward 60 years to a charming second hand bookshop in Northumberland called Barter Books, where an original copy of Keep Calm and Carry On was found in an old box of books for at an auction. The owners of Barter Books decided to frame and hand the poster and as customer interest grew, they decided make copies and sell them. The rest, as they say, is history.
Listen to the story in their own words, along with very interesting archival footage:
Used with permission of the good people at Barter Books.
And who knows, maybe that very book you have been wanting forever is right there in their catalogue.