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on May 15, 2014
This book doesn't pretend to be other than what it is: a scholarly treatise on the impact of the whole printing ecosystem on universities, booksellers, venture capitalists (such as they were), governments, and the common man.

As an academic myself, I'm ashamed that some of us seem to have the disease of writing in a way designed to make other people think we are clever, rather than designed to be readable. While many scholarly books suffer from that disease and are dense and musty to read, filled with overblown academic prose, this one is highly readable, even (especially?) in translation.

This is a niche subject and this book has a niche audience -- people fascinated not only with how the spread of books influenced the spread of ideas, but how the technological and economic systems around printing affected almost every stratum of society. If you're part of that niche, you'll enjoy it. I wish it were available in Kindle form.
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on February 20, 2013
A thorough documentary of the ins and outs of the beginning of the book I was hoping for something with more of the 'why and what happened' nature. The book remains very readable and pertinent despite being written some time ago. However as a history buff I was hoping for more about the very beginning of the printing press which the author admits is very thinly documented. The printing press changed the world as the internet is doing today. It must have generated strong emotions on both sides of the issue of granting literacy to the world. I'm still looking.
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on September 18, 2011
This is one of my favorite books that explores the early history of the book in Europe. It is a bit Franco-centric, probably because the author is French, but nonetheless it is a wealth of information about incunabula, featuring interesting details and stories about the subject. I highly recommend it if you are a bibliophile.
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on June 22, 2016
I agree with the previous reviewers. I plodded through this book and got a lot out of it, but goodness it was slow reading. When I finally got around to reading "The Book in the Renaissance" by Pettegree, I realized what a truly great writer could do with similar material.
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