The 5 Biggest Tech Milestones in Publishing History

October 06, 2015 | By: Time To Know staff

The publishing industry hasn’t always looked like it does today. This dynamic industry has gone through huge waves of change—and it’s still transforming. From the first  Frankfurt Book Fair more than 500 years ago until now, there have been countless landmark events. Here’s our list of the five biggest milestones in the history of publishing:


The Invention of Paper—The first use of paper was in China sometime between 140 BC and 105 AD, but the exact date is unknown. The pages were initially made from hemp, but later bamboo, tree bark and other plant fibers were introduced into the process.

The Printing Press—Johannes Gutenberg’s 15th century invention of the printing press was the certified game changer for the publishing industry. Before this, books were very slow to produce and cost-prohibitively expensive. However, after Gutenberg’s invention, books began spreading to the masses and the literacy rate increased.

Audiobooks— Although around since the 1930s, “audiobooks” reached widespread commercial success in the 1970s. They were no longer just for blind readers, but for everyone.

E-readers—An e-reader is a device used for reading digital works, such as e-books. The technology emerged commercially at the beginning of the 21st century. Since then, e-readers have become staples for book lovers around the world.

Digital Classrooms—In the past few centuries, there have been minimal changes to the traditional classroom. The past generation learned the same as their grandparents, and their grandparents before them. But times are changing, and classrooms are changing with the times. Publishers are now transitioning from paper textbooks to comprehensive digital classrooms. The 21st century generation needs 21st century skills, and this starts in the classroom.

To find out more about the next frontier in education technology for publishers, check out Time To Know on our website or in person at the Frankfurt Book Fair.

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