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Published matter falls into two main categories, periodical and nonperiodical; publications that appear at more or less regular intervals and are members of a series and those that appear on single occasions (except for reissues of essentially the same material).

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.

With increasing specialization, however, publishing became, certainly by the 19th century, an increasingly distinct occupation.

Most modern Western publishers purchase printing services in the open market, solicit manuscripts from authors, and distribute their wares to purchasers through shops, mail order, or direct sales.

Not surprisingly, every kind of attempt was made to control and regulate such a “dangerous” new mode of communication.

Freedom of the press was pursued and attacked for the next three centuries; but by the end of the 18th century a large measure of freedom had been won in western Europe and North America, and a wide range of printed matter was in circulation.

The dissemination of published material via electronic media is treated in information processing.

There is no wholly satisfactory definition of a book, as the word covers a variety of publications (for example, some publications that appear periodically, such as , may be considered books).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.In giving permanence to man’s thoughts and records of his achievements, they answer a deep human need.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.

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