Let’s start with, what is the Publishing Industry?
Mostly when people hear “Publishing Industry”, they think of books. Which is technically not wrong. But, it is actually more than that. The Publishing Industry produces different things. Like: Magazines, newspapers, books, and directories. Also, it does produce greeting cards, calendars, and other published material.
We can’t really pinpoint when and where the publishing of books began but some think that Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press when he printed the Gutenberg Bible.
That might be the most well-known information. But the Chinese and Korean inventors have been producing printed books for centuries before Gutenberg.
Who is Johannes Gutenberg?
Gutenberg was born into a family of goldsmiths in Germany. All the information concerning him is from legal documents to when people took him to court. Other than that, there isn’t really information about his life.
It is believed that the crafts of his family helped him with the invention of the mechanical movable type printing press.
What is “printing press”? Someone may ask.
A printing press is a device which is used to print ink onto paper, cloth… or any surface that is a print medium.
Oldest Book In The World
Though the book that is believed to be the oldest surviving book in the world is The Diamond Sutra. It was made in AD 868. We don’t know exactly the first book printed because back then, the materials they used were fragile. Due to that, the books withered away.
Then the movable type printing press was invented and changed the history of books.
Although the Chinese and Koreans started the printing process hundreds of years before Gutenberg and continued to improve their techniques and methods. The language was one of the barriers which made it difficult to spread their invention of printing.
That’s why Gutenberg is considered the one who created the printing press especially because it was more practical.
However, the first person to actually invent the movable type was a Chinese commoner called Pi Sheng. He made each type by a moistened clay which had a single Chinese character carved into it. But they usually didn’t survive and took a long time to print the letters. And of course, that means it was time-consuming.
So when Gutenberg invented a better and faster way. A movable type which can be used on paper. Also, a type that will last and not get ruined. A type that makes printing go faster and by that makes more books than before, made this invention really important at the time because not only was it faster and better, but it also helped with spreading knowledge all around.
First Publishing House
All the evolving with printing books and the inventing of new practical methods, led to the making of publishing houses.
The Cambridge University Press is considered one of the oldest publishing houses if not, in fact, the oldest publishing house. They published their first book in 1584 and they have been publishing books ever since. They now have over 50 offices across the globe and publish for authors from over 100 countries. Nowadays, Cambridge University Press is considered one of the prominent publishing houses in the world.
The History of the Publishing Industry is definitely full of information. From the beginning of time until today. From how the written word started on walls, clays, wood and then onto paper in books then all the way to eBooks.
Of course, as the years go by, the Publishing Industry will evolve as everything else. eBooks might become history and a new publishing method might appear.
As we can see, the Publishing Industry is always going towards the right direction. It’s always evolving for the better.