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Key Moments in Printing and Publishing

a timeline from alexandria to amazon.com

600 B.C.

The papyri scrolls of antiquity emerge as the first type of book.

250 B.C.

Alexandria, Egypt, becomes one of the great book marts of the world, and Ptolemy I founds the city's great library, which becomes the center for publishing and bookselling.

105 A.D.

The Chinese discover paper-making about this time. It takes more than a thousand years for paper to reach Europe.

1453 A.D.

Early on, bookmaking is confined to the scriptoria of monasteries that produce works for monks and their pupils. Later, the rise of universities in Europe stimulates book sales;
booksellers are known as stationarii.

1440 A.D.

Johann Gutenberg uses the first moveable type in Europe to print the Bible.

17th Cent.

News sheets called corantos appear in Europe. They are used to communicate trA.D.e and business news but eventually develop into the first real newspapers.


French philosopher and mathematician Blaise Pascal creates the first mechanical A.D.ding machine, a precursor to the digital computer.


Modern publishing begins in the U.S. when Mathew Carey comes from Dublin to PhilA.D.elphia to found the first general publishing house modeled on a style that already existed in England.


Friedrich Konig invents the first steam-driven printing press, revolutionizing the industry.


Many of the great American publishers in existence today are founded, including Harper & Brothers in 1817, Little Brown & Co. in 1837 and Houghton Mifflin Co. in 1849.


The first paperback books appear.


German-American Ottmar Mergenthaler patents the first typesetting machine, called a Linotype.


Offset printing, using a photographic process, is established.


Intel Corp. introduces the first commercial general-purpose microprocessor, setting the stage for the development of the personal computer.


Computers become a major learning tool in school and at home with the use of CD Roms. Paperback books become almost 70 percent of bookstores' stock.


Audiobooks increase in popularity, while an interlinked system of text and media files is introduced. This becomes known as the World Wide Web.


Amazon.com introduces the first Kindle.

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