4 September 2010

Brief Messages.

In the West, the history of publishing often starts with the printed book. But before the book, short-form ephemera ruled: “The habit of spending money to read something a printer had decided to publish was an alien one.… What made print viable, Pettegree found, was not the earth-shaking impact of mighty tomes, but the rustle of countless little pages: almanacs, calendars, municipal announcements. Indulgence certificates, the documents showing that sinners had paid the Catholic church for reduced time in purgatory, were especially popular. These ephemeral jobs were what made printing a viable business through the long decades while book publishers — and the public — struggled to find what else this new technology might be good for.”