Major Changes in Publishing

Timeline created by slhiett
  • 3,100 BCE

    Earliest Known Writing System

    Cuneiform, one of the earliest known writing systems developed in Sumer (modern day Iraq). Wedge-shaped marks were made on clay tablets by a blunt stylus cut from a reed (American Printing History Association).
  • 868

    Handwritten Books

    Until 868 AD, the books published were all handwritten. Authors wrote 2-3 copies of the same book and kept it at the libraries. The publishing and distribution processes were quite straightforward. However, a technique known as block printing was found in 220 AD for printing on clothes. Gradually, this method was adapted to books as well. Blocks made of wood had letters and patterns that could be printed on paper (notionpress, 2017).
  • 868

    Oldest Dated Printed Text Known

    The oldest dated printed text known: The Diamond Sutra, a Chinese translation of a Buddhist text now preserved in the British Library (American Printing History Association).
  • 932

    Wood-Block Printing

    Chinese printers adapt Wood-block printing to mass-produce classical books (American Printing History Association).
  • 1041

    Invention of Moveable Type

    Movable type, made from baked clay, invented in China
  • 1309

    First Use of Paper

    Paper first used in England (American Printing History Association).
  • 1456

    First Printing of a Book

    Gutenberg prints the Bible in Germany. It was the first book produced on a printing press anywhere in the world (Encyclopedia Britannica).
  • 1493

    First Printed Book with Illustrations

    Nuremberg Chronicle one of the first books to successfully integrate illustrations and text (American Publishing History Association).
  • 1500

    Invention of the Printing Press

    It was in 1500 AD the printing revolution actually started. The printing press not only speeded up the book printing process, but it also reduced the production costs of books. The books were all the more affordable. At this juncture, various print materials, like newspapers, best seller novels, etc., were published (notionpress, 2017).
  • First Traditional Book Publisher

    As most of us know, the Cambridge University Press is one of the world’s oldest publishing houses. Founded by Henry VIII in 1534, it released the first print book in 1584. The other publishing houses that existed around this time are Schwabe Verlag in Switzerland and House of Elzevir (Notion Press, 2017).
  • First Public Library

    Public library opens in Charleston, South Carolina (American Printing History Association).
  • Books Bound in Cloth

    Books bound in cloth issued by William Pickering in London (American Publishing History Association).
  • Paperback Books

    Paperback books appear in England and Ireland (American Publishing History Association).
  • First Self-Published Book

    American parachutist Dan Poynter wrote and published The Self-Publishing Manual in 1979, launching a term and a trend. Some authors jumped in, printing consignment runs and selling by mail-order, or driving around to bookshops, with a car-load of books. But the most important development was print-on-demand (POD) as digital printing processes made it economically viable to print single copies, or small batches, to order (Alliance of Independent Authors, 2012).
  • First e-Book

    POD technology continued to improve, and in 1990, the era of the ebook was launched with books in ,txt, .mobi and .doc formats taking to market (Alliance of Independent Authors).
  • First e-Reader

    Sony released the first ebook reader in 2004, followed by Kindle eReader from Amazon in 2007 (Alliance of Independent Authors, 2012).