What was life like before the  invention of the Gutenburg Printing press, and how would people read; how would they get by?

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readerofbooks eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This is a great question. Johann Gutenberg was born in Mainz in 1398 and died in 1468. He is, undoubtedly, one of the most important people as he created the printing press, which has shaped the world. Before his invention, life was different to say the least. Let me offer a few points to give you a sense of life before the printing press. 

First, to have multiple copies of a literary work was not an easy thing. The simple reason for this was that scribes would have to copy things by hand. This was a hard and arduous task, not to mention one that was expensive.

Second, the exchange of ideas was much slower before the printing press, because things had to be copied by hand. One of the reasons for the great spread of the Renaissance and even the Protestant Reformation was directly due to the printing press. 

Third, from a numbers points of view, there were simply less literary materials for people to read. Hence, education was not able to take off on a large scale.