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Literature and Writing

Book Publishing

movable type, orations, stone tablets, papyrus, Book Publishing

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Book Publishing, manufacture, publication, and distribution of books. The process involves the selection of a manuscript, the editing of it, the designing of the book’s final appearance, the actual manufacture into book form, the distribution of the book to booksellers, and the book’s ultimate purchase by readers.

The origins of the book trade can be traced to engraved clay and stone tablets of the ancient Assyrian and Babylonian kingdoms, but most authorities consider the scrolls of antiquity that were made of papyrus to be the true forerunners of the book. As early as 600 bc, scribes were known to have copied poems, speeches, and orations onto these scrolls and to have sold them at high prices.

The book publishing industry has changed dramatically over the centuries. Early technological innovations led to developments such as movable type, mass production, and the manufacture of paperback books. The 20th century brought the invention of audiobooks, the computerization of the book production process, the growth of the Internet as a pathway for booksellers to reach readers, and continuing improvements in the quality of computerized electronic books.

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