Books, Papers and Ads: Looking Back on Printed Media

Thanks to Gutenberg and his famous printing press, modern people now live in a highly informational world. Information can now be passed and get from books, newspapers and advertisement. Actually, these are the three main mass media that used printing a lot. The modern era is going digital and information can now be taken from the internet which is much convenient but before all things go digital let us look back at the history of printing in relation to books, newspapers and advertisement.


Before there were computers, and internet, the leading source of information of the people in 15th century were books. It used to be written in heavy tablets stored in libraries so only the rich could read these books. Thanks to Gutenberg’s printing press books were rapidly printed, reproduced and distributed to many people across Europe which in turn popularizes book reading even for the middle class. Today books are easily brought from one place to another because it is now printed in pocket sized books. These books started in 1935 by Penguin books. Their easy to carry, paperback books were sold for a few dimes. These became the turning point for book publishers. They started selling a lot of books and many people are realizing how convenient it is to read light books rather than the hard bound versions during those period.


Thanks to printing news information became very accessible to the mass and they could easily find out what is happening around their area. Back in the Roma days, the Actia Diurna or actions of the day was the first newspaper on the history although it was not actually written in paper but in tablet, the Actia Diurna became the primary source of news on what was happening on the senate. In 1690’s came the broadsheet (single sheet) during the colonial period which became successful because of the improved printing process used for books. Actually booksellers and print shops became the focal point of the modern newspapers because of these one paged publication of news local and foreign. In 1690 Boston bookseller, Benjamin Harris published the first broadsheet, Publick Occcurences Both Foreign and Dometick. Unfortunately, it only lasted for a day for Harris failed to secure a permit which was necessary during that time. This event started the printing of modern newspaper and journalism.


While printed books and newspapers were mostly letters, printed advertisement in pre-modern era usually employ pictures and colors to attract buyers. Before advertisement were etched or painted on rock, which was evident in 400BC rock arts in India. All these changed thanks to the advancements in printing, printing of advertisement became very affordable. Soon even newspapers allowed ads on their pages to get income. The first recorded paper who published a paid advertisement was a French newspaper, La Presse in 1836. Advertising printed on newspaper became the first of many mediums used by different companies to attract consumers. Now advertising is also seen on magazines, TV programs, radio stations and even billboards.

Books, newspapers and advertisements were not only a source of information for people but it also became a source of entertainment for many people.

It is just sad that more and more people are getting into digital versions of these mass media making the printed medium less famous and used. Books for example have their e-book version which readers could conveniently read on their tablet computers. The possibility that printing and printed mass medium will not be available anymore because of the digitalization of many information, is not impossible. When that time comes, the world will not be as wonderful and interesting for sure.

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