When you work in any industry involving printing or book publishing services, it’s easy to take for granted how the process came to be, and what people did before the technology and materials were so readily available. We like to remind ourselves and others about the history behind what we do, so we’ve compiled a few facts and figures that we found fascinating about the history of publishing, and we think you will too!
- The earliest known books were found in Mesopotamia as clay tablets, and papyrus rolls in Egypt around 3,000 BC. Papyrus is actually a plant!
- Books in China were made up of wood and bamboo strips
- Between 300 B.C and 100 B.C, libraries and “book stores” opened in Egypt and Rome, making literacy and owning books a symbol of distinction.
- China advanced the printing industry by inventing woodblock printing, modern paper as we know it, and moveable type, all before 1040 A.D.
- The Bible was the first book printed using the printing press, which was improved by Johannes Gutenberg in Germany in 1450. Book publishing services truly started here!
- With the rest of Europe catching on to printing technology, the first newspaper was printed in Germany in 1605, and the first magazine – The Gentleman’s Magazine – debuted in London in 1731.
- A few years after the camera was invented in 1790, the art of lithography came to be, which enabled the printing of images onto paper.
- The mid-1800’s brought us mass production with a steam powered rotary press. The color rotary press was invented a few short years later.
- Some of our favorite publications today have been around for decades: National Geographic, 1899; Readers Digest, 1922; and Time, 1923.
- Magazine and newspaper production exploded in the mid 1900’s, leading to the existence of household names, such as Newsweek and Rolling Stone Magazine.
And the rest, as they say, is history.