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© Colourbox
Modern book printing

February 22, 2008

With this invention knowledge entered mass production. Gutenberg’s idea was brilliantly simple: durable casting moulds for producing reusable type. After about three years Gutenberg had printed the first “best-seller” in history: the Bible. Since the introduction of the printing press, printing technology has been continuously advanced in Germany. The world’s leading printing machine manufacturers are from Germany, and lithography as well as offset printing were developed here.

The distribution of the printed word accelerated the Reformation and Enlightenment, and promoted literacy. Poets and thinkers took advantage of the new technology, making the German book scene thrive – but censorship and barbarism almost destroyed it: on 10 May 1933 National Socialists burned the works of modern and dissident authors everywhere in Germany. The book burning put a preliminary end to 500 years of German book culture.

After the war a diverse media landscape developed once again in Germany. Year after year, 1,800 publishing houses launch almost 80,000 titles on the market. At the largest book fair in the world, in Frankfurt, exhibitors from more than 100 countries present tomorrow’s best-sellers. The best-selling work in 2005, however, was not from Germany: almost everywhere, it was Harry Potter.



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