I’m having a whiggish morning.


Number of books (not titles, but physical books) in Europe in 1439, when Johannes Gutenberg was attempting to extract himself from financial difficulties after a failed scheme to sell polished metal mirrors to pilgrims in Aachen, and thinking hard about what he might turn his hand to next: c. 30,000

Date that the first finished copies of Gutenberg’s Bible were available: 1454 or 1455

Date that William Caxton printed the first book in English (Recuyell of the Historyes of Troye by Raoul Lefevre; this was Caxton’s own translation of Lefevre’s  account of the Trojan War): 1473


Date that the first printed news pamphlets appeared (in Germany): c. 1480

Percentage of the copy of these news pamphlets that was apparently clickbait about the atrocities committed by a sadistic warlord called Vlad Tepes: Unknown, but greater than zero.


Date that the first printed copy of Aristotle’s Works rolled off Aldus Manutius’ press in Venice: 1495

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Percentage of books written in Latin in 1495: 75

Percentage of books written in vernacular languages in 1595: c. 75


Literacy rate in the Netherlands, 1475: 17%

In Great Britain, 1475: 5%

In Great Britain, 1650: 53%

In the Netherlands, 1750: 85%

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Date that the Imperial Reichspost (linking together cities throughout the Holy Roman Empire) was founded by Jannetto de Tassis: 1495

Date of the first issue of the earliest surviving regularly-appearing English language newspaper: 1620

Place of its printing: Amsterdam

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Number of books available in Europe in 1499: c. 10-12 million


So so so–

So this is what it feels like to match wits

With someone at your level- What the hell is the catch? It’s

The feeling of freedom, of seeing the light

It’s Gutenberg, the press and the type! You see it, right?



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