The History of Book Publishing: A Brief Retrospection

“Necessity is the root of all invention.”



All things have origins—the history of their birth into existence, including their reason. Book publishing, along with everything else, has a rich history that has changed over the course of many lifetimes. Knowing the history of book publishing will increase knowledge of the proper use and application of strategies that are rendered functional until today’s generation.

History ought to be studied to learn something from it. To understand the mistakes from the past and prevent them from happening again. To steer clear of having the stakes doubled if such errors are to be repeated. At the same time, history is an opportunity to gain insights for development.



How did book publishing come into existence?



With the advancement of our world today, it’s natural for us to think that the people in the past must be living a tough life. They pioneered everything that we have now. The responsibility that falls under the hand of the succeeding generations is to enhance the novel discoveries of the past generations and make sure it does not decline and vanish. The history of book publishing can be traced back to the three inventions that surfaced throughout ancient times. Such innovations will be further discussed in this article.


Three inventions gave rise to publishing/printing, and such inventions are as follows:


  1. Inventions of Writing

  2. Inventions of Paper

  3. Inventions of Printing


Invention of Writing


The history of book publishing dates back to the Sumerian civilization, which created the system of writing called “Cuneiform.” The Sumerians of Mesopotamia gave rise to the earliest writing system, which paved the way for various writing systems to emerge in the later centuries.


Writing has come into existence to record religious and political matters, ideologies, and other essential affairs that the ancient people once only recalled through memories.



Invention of Paper


The people of ancient history found that verbal communication could not suffice their needs in terms of their specific transactions, such as leaving messages and instructions to the tribe when other clans were out on an expenditure and recording transactions for their trade and other undertakings.


The invention of paper has a long history. The first paper-like invention was the “papyrus,” which originated in Egypt. However, the first paper in its most proper form was introduced in China during the Eastern Han era. China took a significant leap in communication, crafting various methods to record their transcripts, writings, and artistry. From cloth pieces and eventually created one of the most valuable tools ever to exist— paper.



Invention of Printing


There are countless significant inventions birthed into existence, and one of them is printing. Printing gave way to more avenues for documenting and recording information for various purposes. The history of printing started as early as the Sumerians used impression stamps called “Cylinder seals” in their business transactions and addressing correspondence.



The three inventions gave rise to the creation of publishing. The history of publishing started with the discovery of writing, paper, and printing. It transformed into endless possibilities for innovation. With the population being more literate and engaging more in the world of literacy, publishing has significantly impacted civilization and has become a thriving industry. Publishing is a mix of technical innovation over time, and the shift of social structures brought about by cultural characteristics that are changing day by day.



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