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The reason may well lie in Arab insistence on hand copying of the Qurʾān (Arabic printing of the Qurʾān does not appear to have been officially sanctioned until 1825).The invention of printing in Europe is usually attributed to Johannes Gutenberg in Germany about 1440–50, although block printing had been carried out from about 1400.For additional information on the preparation of early manuscripts, see writing.A more detailed examination of printing technology can be found in printing.The church, the state, universities, reformers, and radicals were all quick to use the press.Not surprisingly, every kind of attempt was made to control and regulate such a “dangerous” new mode of communication.In 1498, for instance, 18,000 letters of indulgence were printed at Barcelona.The market for books was still small, but literacy had spread beyond the clergy and had reached the emerging middle classes.

Published matter falls into two main categories, periodical and nonperiodical; publications that appear at more or less regular intervals and are members of a series and those that appear on single occasions (except for reissues of essentially the same material).

The dissemination of published material via electronic media is treated in information processing.

For a discussion of reference-book publishing, see the articles encyclopaedia; dictionary.

It has been at the heart of the expanding intellectual movement of the past 500 years.

Although printing was thought of at first merely as a means of avoiding copying errors, its possibilities for mass-producing written matter soon became evident.

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