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Author: Sarah O'Keefe


Printing and economics

Before the invention of movable type, book publishing was technologically possible, but prohibitively expensive. Printing involved carving the contents of a page onto a wooden block — backwards — and then basically stamping that ink-covered block onto a page. Each wooden block was usable only for a single, specific page. Movable type, developed by Johannes Gutenberg and others, took the granularity of print technology from the page down to the character level. This innovation changed the economics of printing, and led to affordable books and the spread of literacy.

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