Johannes Gutenberg invented the first printing press in Maines, Germany sometime between 1440 and 1450. His invention increased Europe's book count from the thousands to the millions.
Despite the success of the printing press, Johannes Gutenberg lost all of his assets to his business partner, Johann Furst, in 1455. Furst continued the business with his employee, Peter Schöffer, who later became his son-in-law.
Despite the fact that the printing press was invented in Maines, Germany, the city never flourished in the book trade.
Anton Koberger lived in Nürnberg and operated internationally. At the height of his career, he owned 24 printing presses. His success in the book trade lead to him being the first business man to become a member of his town council.
Printing quickly spread to other countries including Sweden, Denmark, and Russia. Printing did not actually take hold in Russia until 1552 because the first printer to move there was murdered before he was able to set up shop.
The printing press made its way to Italy in 1462-63 through a Benedictine monastery near Rome. Konrad Sweynheim and Arnold Pannartz, two German printers, moved to Rome in 1467. The church there highly encouraged the printing of inexpensive books. Before long the larger cities in Italy had become centers for printing and publishing. In 1500 Venice had approximately 150 presses. Nicolas Jenson, a typographer in Venice, perfected the Roman typeface in the year 1470. Aldus Manuthius began printing in 1490 and later invented both the pocket edition and the publisher's logo.
In 1470, the rector and librarian of Sorbonne, in Paris, France, invited three German printers to set up shop at the university. The scholars chose which books to print and set the typeset, usually the Roman typeface. When the Renaissance came to France in 1500, France became the leader of book production in Europe. It was also during this time frame that France consolidated the Aldine book type, books printed in a compact and inexpensive manner.
The reign of Frances I, 1515-47, became known as the Golden Age of French typography. Francis I had a personal interest in the printing of books and was a friend and patron of Robert Estienne, a prominent name in the French world of typography. In 1530, Francis I ordered Estienne to donate a copy of every book that he printed to the royal library. In this way, he also founded the very first copyright library.
The first press established in Spain was at Valencia in 1473.
England was slow to embrace the printing press, the first one did not reach England until 1476. By 1500 there was a total of five printers in England, all stationed in London and all were foreigners.
Richard III restricted how much trade foreigners were allowed to do in England, with the exception of the book trade. He wanted to encourage the development of books in England. In 1485, one year after Richard III restricted foreigners' trading, Henry VII appointed Peter Actors, a foreigner from Savoy, as the royal stationer and allowed him to import books. The lack of restrictions on the book trade made England a profitable area for printers. The free trade ended, however, and native stationers were protected by Henry VIII, who in 1523, 1529, and 1534, enacted regulations on foreign craftsmen and stopped the free importation of books. Until 1535, roughly one third of those in the book trade were natives to England.
William Caxton introduced printing in England. He was taught the art of printing in Cologne in 1471-72 before setting up a press in Bruges in 1474. Edward IV encouraged him to return to England where he received royal patronage under Richard III and Henry VII. Caxton was not a very good printer, however, the fact that he printed in English rather than Latin, thereby helping to shape the language, made him a valuable printer in England. Before his death, William Caxton printed roughly 90 books, 74 of which were printed in the English language.
After his death, Caxton's press was carried on by his assistant, Wynkyn de Worde of Alsace. Unlike Caxton, Worde printed a wide variety of religious books, school books, and collections of popular folk tales, instead of expensive books for the rich. He preferred to print smaller volumes that the common people could afford. Like Caxton, he also published primarily in English.
Richard Pynson was also a prominent name in England's printing. Pynson was from Normandy and began his career as a printer in 1492. In 1508 he became the King's printer, and in 1509, he became the first to use Roman type in England. In 1522 he published the first English book on arithmetic.
"history of publishing".Encyclopdia Britannica. Encyclopdia Britannica Online.
Encyclopdia Britannica Inc., 2017. Web. 21 May. 2017
Stephanie Tiner loves all things writing. After struggling to learn how to read as a child, Stephanie eventually found her way and fell in love with the written word. The first book she read from cover to cover without help was "Romeo and Juliet" by William Shakespeare. After falling in love with reading, she quickly fell in love with writine. Stephanie Tiner lives with her husband, children, and her dog in Missouri and hopes to someday be a published author.
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