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A brief history of the publishing industry

The early pioneers of modern-day publishing were visionaries, eager to make a name for themselves. Around the turn of the 20th century, the New York publishing houses were born, creating the foundation for the key players we know today. In the years that followed, we saw publishing houses merge, trade paperbacks gain popularity, innovative ways to sell books emerge, and big-chain bookstores open across the world.

Yet the basic publishing model, where the “big houses” ruled the business, remained until the onset of the digital age in the 1990s. The surge of new technology for printing and distributing books combined with the rising importance of the internet and the explosion of self-published books began to disrupt the system because authors no longer needed the big publishing houses to get their books into the hands of readers. Self-publishing and smaller presses were on the rise, competing with the big houses for market share. New visionaries stepped in, pushing the big publishing houses to examine old models and evolve with the times.

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