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The church, the state, universities, reformers, and radicals were all quick to use the press.
Not surprisingly, every kind of attempt was made to control and regulate such a “dangerous” new mode of communication.
Printing in Europe is inseparable from the Reformation.
The activity has grown from small beginnings into a vast and complex industry responsible for the dissemination of all manner of cultural material; its impact upon civilization is impossible to calculate.Not every published book is of lasting value; but a nation’s books, taken as a whole and winnowed out by the passing years, can be said to be its main cultural storehouse.Conquerors or usurpers wishing to destroy a people’s heritage have often burned its books, as did Shih Huang-ti in China in 213 , the Spaniards in Mexico in 1520, and the Nazis in the 1930s.Of the nonperiodical publications, books constitute by far the largest class; they are also, in one form or another, the oldest of all types of publication and go back to the earliest civilizations.In giving permanence to man’s thoughts and records of his achievements, they answer a deep human need.