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Timeline of Publishing

A timeline of the history of publishing.
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808
The world's oldest known printed book, The Diamond Sutra, a seven-page scroll printed with wood blocks on paper, is produced in China.
11th century
The Chinese and Koreans continue to experiment with movable type, using clay, wood, bronze and iron. The complexity of Chinese and Korean symbols creates a major stumbling block to the process.
1440
German Johann Gutenberg invents movable type by developing foundry-cast metal characters and a wooden printing press.
1455
Gutenberg prints his first book, a Latin Bible.
1475
Englishman William Caxton produces the first book printed in English, The Recuyell of the Historyes of Troye.
1559
Pope Paul IV issues the Index of Forbidden Books, which lists books the Roman Catholic Church considers dangerous to faith and morals.
1639
Stephen Day prints Freeman's Oath and An Almanack in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the first books published in the American colonies.
1663
Erbauliche Monaths-Unterredungen (Edifying Monthly Discussions), considered the world's first magazine, is published in Germany.
1690
America's first newspaper, Publick Occurrences Both Forreign and Domestick, is printed in Boston, Massachusetts, and subsequently suspended for operating without a royal license.
1731
The Gentleman's Magazine, considered the first modern magazine, is published in England. The periodical is intended for entertainment and includes essays, stories, poems and political commentary.
1741
Benjamin Franklin plans to publish America's first magazine, General Magazine, but is beaten to the punch when American Magazine comes out three days earlier.
1764
Pierre Fournier of France develops the point system to measure type sizes. His system is further refined by Francois Didot, establishing consistency in type measure throughout the world.
1771
Encyclopaedia Brittanica, the first English-language encyclopedia, is published in Edinburgh, Scotland.
1793
The Pennsylvania Evening Post becomes America's first daily newspaper.
1796
German Alois Senefelder develops lithography, a method of image transfer that produces high-quality printed images.
c. 1800
The Third Earl of Stanhope manufactures an all-metal printing press.
1810
In London, Friedrich Koenigh uses steam power to operate a printing press. His system involves rolling a cylinder over paper that lies on top of inked type. Koenigh's method signals the end of the flat-hand press.
1822
American-born William Church invents the first mechanical typesetting device.
1828
Noah Webster, often referred to as the “father of his country's language,” publishes the American Dictionary of the English Language in an attempt to encourage American independence in both written and spoken English.
1829
Encyclopaedia Americana, America's first encyclopedia, is published in Philadelphia.
1842
Illustrated London News uses woodcuts and engravings for the first time, prompting the growth of illustrated journals throughout the second half of the century.
c. 1845
Paperbacks are introduced to the United States as newspaper supplements and soon appear as small-sized reprints of existing books.
1846
Richard Hoe patents the first rotary press, which allows publishers to increase circulation exponentially.
1851
Selling for a penny a copy, the New York Times debuts.
1861
The Chicago Times publicizes its motto: “It is a newspaper's duty to print the news and raise hell.”
1891
The Copyright Act of 1891 prohibits the reprinting of English titles in paperback form, making paperbacks virtually nonexistent.
William Morris establishes the Kelmscott Press to improve the quality of books produced in England. His books are known for their high quality illustrations and typography.
1895
In its first issue, American magazine The Bookman includes a list of “Books in Demand,” which predates the bestseller list, later developed by Frank Mott in his book, Golden Multitudes.
1902
McClure's Magazine prints “Tweed Days in St. Louis” by C.H. Wetmore and Lincoln Steffens. The article introduces the muckraking era.
Beatrix Potter writes her first Peter Rabbit story.
1906
Upton Sinclair exposes the public-health threat of the meat-packing industry in The Jungle.
1912
Photoplay debuts as the first magazine for movie fans.
1913
First crossword puzzle appears in the New York World. See Crossword Puzzle Guide
1914
Edgar Rice Burroughs' Tarzan of the Apes published.
1917
The first Pulitzer Prizes are awarded for editorial writing, reporting, history of the United States and biography or autobiography. Fiction, drama and poetry debut in 1918.
The first op-ed page appears in the New York Times.
1921
Edith Wharton's Age of Innocence wins Pulitzer Prize.
1922
James Joyce's Ulysses published. The U.S. Post Office destroys 500 copies of the novel.
Reader's Digest debuts.
1923
Time Magazine debuts.
1926
The Book-of-the-Month Club is founded and begins to sell books at reduced prices by mail and on a subscription basis.
1928
Coming of Age in Samoa by Margaret Mead published.
1933
Anti-pornography laws are cited as the reason that James Joyce's Ulysses is prohibited from being imported to the United States.
Esquire debuts as the first men's magazine.
1936
Allen Lane's Penguin Press, an English publishing house, reintroduces the paperback book.
Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind published.
1950
Charles Schulz introduces the Peanuts comic strip.
1953
The first issue of TV Guide magazine hits the newsstands on April 3 in 10 cities with a circulation of 1,560,000.
Playboy magazine hits newsstands. A nude Marilyn Monroe graces the cover.
1956
Kay Thompson's Eloise, the Plaza Hotel's most famous guest, is a bestseller.
Grace Metalious's steamy Peyton Place is a bestseller.
1967
Rolling Stone and New York Magazine debut, spawning the popularity of special-interest and regional magazines.
1972
Gloria Steinem's Ms magazine debuts.
1974
People magazine debuts, with Mia Farrow gracing the cover.
c. 1980
About 70 percent of the books sold in the United States are paperbacks.
1985
With the availability of relatively inexpensive laser printers and computers, tools for desktop publishing begin to be commonly used.
1986
The Academic American Encyclopedia is available on CD-ROM. It is the first reference work published in this medium.
1989
Salman Rushdie's novel Satanic Verses is published and sparks immediate controversy. Islamic militants put a price on his head.
1990
Entertainment Weekly hits newsstands.
1994
For the first time in history, chain bookstores outsell independent stores, signaling what many fear to be the death of smaller booksellers at the hands of superstores.
1997
J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone is published in the U.K. It comes to U.S. in 1998 as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.
1998
Tina Brown, editor of The New Yorker sends shockwaves through the publishing world with her resignation from the venerable weekly. David Remnick is hired to replace her.

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