Technology is not enough for success however. A publisher needs
to choose the right texts for his market. This was much more important
for a printer than for the men and women who made a living from
producing manuscripts. A printer had to sell many copies of the
same work at the same time, and he had to sell them fast to recover
a substantial investment.
Gutenberg and his team were aware of this problem: all copies of
the Bible had been sold even before printing was completed.
In the 50 years after Gutenberg began printing, printed books spread
along the trade routes of Western Europe. Books did not become cheap
immediately after the appearance of Gutenberg's printed works, but
prices soon began to fall. By 1500 access to books had changed profoundly.
This meant more access to information, more dissent, more informed
discussion and more widespread criticism of authorities. Europe
and the world beyond would have been a very different place without