Friday, March 04, 2005

The History of Publishing

The History of Publishing
Fitzgerald Lozan

The mere word publishing, conjures images of a printing house, a distribution network, a book store and then the reader. The image or the sequence is true and applicable, but this has developed into this practice after years of refining and development. The generic meaning of ~publishing~ is making something known publicly. This process of issuing printed materials, such as books, magazines, periodicals etc started when there was a need for extra copies of manuscripts in ancient times. Roman history talks about booksellers ~ Horace mentions the Sosii, who were apparently brothers ~ and the copying of books was carried out by trained slaves. Printing was introduced in Europe in the middle of the fifteenth century. The initial instances of publishing had the author, the printer, and the publisher - all as the same person. The differentiation has slowly appeared as demand has matured.

The first important publishing house (1583~1791) was that of the Elzevir family in Holland. As printing, publishing, and bookselling spread across the West, it helped many as the interest in reading grew. Printing and publishing was used to print religious controversies and arguments in broadsides, pamphlets, and books to hand them out to partisans. Similarly, people~s interest in knowing the future increased the amount of literature issued by bookseller-publishers. Modern European cities with long traditions of publishing are Vienna, Florence, Milan, Z~rich, Paris, London, and Edinburgh. In the United States, Boston, Philadelphia, and especially New York City took the lead. During the late 19th century and throughout the 20th century, specialization entered book publishing. So, some publishing houses were specialized in religious books, textbooks, art books, technical books, and children's books.

It was seen that the hardcover books were expensive. Necessity being the mother of invention, this need led to the United States coming up with a solution in the form of paperback books. The popularity of paperback books touched meteoric levels in the 1930s and 40s, especially in all English speaking countries. In the 1950s the ~quality~ paperback were introduced as another durable editions of well-known writers. The commercialization drive continued to an extent that by 1998, sale of paperbacks reached about 14 per cent of all books sold in the United States.

However, publishing could not remain untouched by the advent of technology, and it faced serious problems. In the 1970s, television and databases become a challenge for the publishers. These new technology hijacked the prerogative of book publishing such as transmission, storage, and distribution of data. When the copying machines flooded the market, publishers and authors found it hard to protect their property by copyright. Publishing saw a new era during the late 20th century. Computers, CD-ROM and Internet allowed publishing to expand but the easy access to and copying of electronically published material raised additional copyright issues. For all these copyright problems governments have to come up with copyright laws, defining the extent to which the material can be copied.

`Electronic Book~ or `e-book~ is the brighter product of the new technology. Due to this, a large number of books are being digitized.

Fitzgerald Lozan is the owner and operator of
http://www.appublishing.com AP Publishing, Inc. which is a premier resource for you publishing needs. Contact us at, go to: http://www.appublishing.com

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