Question: What impact did the Gutenberg press have on society?
Answer: A lot. A whole bunch of a lot.
When Gutenberg invented the press in the mid-1400s, it made information accessible to the masses. The technology made sharing uncensored ideas with your neighbors, the village down the road, or even the world, possible.
Before the Gutenberg press, only the rich could afford books and manuscripts. In fact, books were so rare that your church probably did NOT have a copy of the Bible under its roof.
According to a web article posted by the University of Texas, it’s estimated you could only find around 30,000 books in all of Europe before the Gutenberg press. Fifty years later, 10 to 12 million books circulated throughout Europe.
Yeah, I’d say the Gutenberg press had an impact.
Watch the following Xerox ad that first aired during the 1976 Super Bowl. It humorously represents the communication opportunities before the Gutenberg press and after. (Seriously, watch it. It’s only a minute of your time. Not only does it illustrate the importance of printing, it’s also a look at how commercials have changed over time.)