Books dating publications
For additional information on the preparation of early manuscripts, see writing.
A more detailed examination of printing technology can be found in printing.
The functions peculiar to the publisher—i.e., selecting, editing, and designing the material; arranging its production and distribution; and bearing the financial risk or the responsibility for the whole operation—often merged in the past with those of the author, the printer, or the bookseller.
With increasing specialization, however, publishing became, certainly by the 19th century, an increasingly distinct occupation.
Scripts of various kinds came to be used throughout most of the ancient world for proclamations, correspondence, transactions, and records; but book production was confined largely to religious centres of learning, as it would be again later in medieval Europe.
This article treats the history and development of book, newspaper, and magazine publishing in its technical and commercial aspects.
The preparation and dissemination of written communication is followed from its beginnings in the ancient world to the modern period.
The history of publishing is characterized by a close interplay of technical innovation and social change, each promoting the other.
Publishing as it is known today depends on a series of three major inventions—writing, paper, and printing—and one crucial social development—the spread of literacy.