In Europe the books became cheaper and more widespread when the use of paper became more frequent, especially as a strong rise of intellectual life of society went together with this after the crusades and the development of universities. In the 13th century there was a special post in the universities, the so-called STATIONARII. These people urged students to copy books, took books on commission from the Jewish usurers who did not have the right to sell books themselves and from leaving students; therefore the stationarii were the first booksellers in new Europe. In the beginning of the 14th century in Paris the booksellers as such separated from the Stationarii; but even they still gave oath to the university and were subordinate to it. In the end of the 14th and the beginning of the 15th century in the “Latin quarter” whole houses and side streets were inhabited by book-copiers, calligraphers, bookbinders, parchment-makers, paper-sellers. In 1403 text-writers in London united into a special guild; the same thing happened in some places in Holland as well. In the 15th century in Italy there were booksellers who kept a large number of scribes in their stores, so they could publish books even before the invention of printing. At this time in all big cities of Europe there were public libraries where books could be taken home (libri vagantes), whereas other books, especially valuable and voluminous ones were attached to writing desks with iron chains. Already in the 15th century almost everywhere there were booksellers and corporations of book-copiers who tried to satisfy the needs not only of rich people, but of people with medium income as well. The books sold were books of prayers, didactic and secular (entertaining) books. But still, if a layman started reading or even copying books at the time, he did it basically not for his own pleasure and not for education. He was most probably interested in the matter of saving his soul.
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