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The impact of the printing press on the spread of knowledge

The printing press revolutionized the world and created the means by which knowledge could be consumed by anyone who was/is able to read.

Prior to the invention of the printing press knowledge obviously existed. However, knowledge was concentrated and was not democratically dispersed. The Catholic Church, kings and wealthy nobles had a monopoly on knowledge. This was due to the fact that hiring someone to make a copy of a book was expensive. Additionally, books themselves were difficult to make and were therefore also expensive. Since only the rich could afford books, it was mostly only the rich and powerful who had learned the skill of reading.

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The printing press revolutionized the world and created the means by which knowledge could be consumed by anyone who was/is able to read.

Prior to the invention of the printing press knowledge obviously existed. However, knowledge was concentrated and was not democratically dispersed. The Catholic Church, kings and wealthy nobles had a monopoly on knowledge. This was due to the fact that hiring someone to make a copy of a book was expensive. Additionally, books themselves were difficult to make and were therefore also expensive. Since only the rich could afford books, it was mostly only the rich and powerful who had learned the skill of reading.

The adaptation of block printing by Johannes Gutenberg and the development of his moveable-type printing press in the mid-1400's had several notable effects on the spread of knowledge. First of all books became cheaper. Whereas before the printing press each book had to be individually copied, after the printing press was developed once the type had been cast it was possible to make numerous copies at little additional cost. In other words printing in bulk was much cheaper than copying in bulk. A consequence of the lower cost of books was that more people considered writing, buying or reading books now that they ...

Solution Summary

This solution takes a look at how the printing press influenced the spread of knowledge. Specifically, literacy, Bible reading, maps and map making and the spread of general knowledge are discussed. Over 800 words of original text along with links to informative websites for further research.

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