Book Publishing Industry

Written by Christa Gatewood
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The history for publishing dates back over 500 years. In the 1450s, Johann Gutenberg invented a letter press printing machine that revolutionized book making. Until then, books were either written or copied by hand. That was an extremely arduous process and it limited the number of books made significantly. The invention of the letter press effectively created the publishing industry and made books available to the general public for the first time in history. Not surprisingly, the first available book printed on the letter press was the Gutenberg Bible.

Later, the publishing industry expanded to include secular and sacred works as the technology improved and even more books were able to be printed and distributed. However, the printing process was quite expensive, and it was an undertaking that only large publishing houses could afford. The result was that there were many writers in the marketplace all competing for a select few publishing spots.

How Technology Has Affected the Publishing Industry

This is how publishing was for hundreds of years. It wasn't until recently that the print on demand technology revolutionized the publishing industry. In fact, it is still revolutionizing the publishing industry. Print on demand technology makes it possible to print one book at a time. This opened the industry up to smaller publishing companies and individuals that didn't have the capital to afford large printing runs.

The traditional large trade publishers are still extremely selective about the manuscripts they choose to publish, but those who are not chosen now have other publishing options. They can publish with a small publisher or they can self publish. Technology has always affected the publishing industry to make it easier to publish a book, and there is no doubt that print on demand will continue to open up the publishing industry.


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