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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.
Gutenberg’s achievement was not a single invention but a whole new craft involving movable metal type, ink, paper, and press.
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.
Not surprisingly, every kind of attempt was made to control and regulate such a “dangerous” new mode of communication.
A more detailed examination of printing technology can be found in printing.
In less than 50 years it had been carried through most of Europe, largely by German printers.
Printing in Europe is inseparable from the Reformation.
For statistical purposes, however, the United Nations Educational, Social and Cultural Organization defines a book as “a non-periodical printed publication of at least 49 pages excluding covers.” Periodical publications may be further divided into two main classes, magazines.
Though the boundary between them is not sharp—there are magazines devoted to news, and many newspapers have magazine features—their differences of format, tempo, and function are sufficiently marked: the newspaper (daily or weekly) usually has large, loose pages, a high degree of immediacy, and miscellaneous contents; whereas the magazine (weekly, monthly, or quarterly) has smaller pages, is usually fastened together and sometimes bound, and is less urgent in tone and more specialized in content.