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The activity has grown from small beginnings into a vast and complex industry responsible for the dissemination of all manner of cultural material; its impact upon civilization is impossible to calculate.This article treats the history and development of book, newspaper, and magazine publishing in its technical and commercial aspects.Join Britannica's Publishing Partner Program and our community of experts to gain a global audience for your work!History of publishing, an account of the selection, preparation, and marketing of printed matter from its origins in ancient times to the present.
In 1498, for instance, 18,000 letters of indulgence were printed at Barcelona.
Writing was originally regarded not as a means of disseminating information but as a way to fix religious formulations or to secure codes of law, genealogies, and other socially important matters, which had previously been committed to memory.
Publishing could begin only after the monopoly of letters, often held by a priestly caste, had been broken, probably in connection with the development of the value of writing in commerce.
The preparation and dissemination of written communication is followed from its beginnings in the ancient world to the modern period.
For additional information on the preparation of early manuscripts, see writing.