The printing press was invented by Johannes Gutenberg in 1454. Before the printing press, books were rare because they had to be copied by hand.
The printing press used moveable type or carved wooden letters and images that would be covered in ink with ink balls and then pressed against paper to print the pages. It is thought that this type of printing originated in Asia.
The printing press arrived in England in 1476 and was set up at Westminster by a man named William Caxton. Caxton is responsible for printing the first book in English. Prior to this all books had been printed in Latin or another foreign language.
By the time Shakespeare’s plays were written the printing press had been in England for more than 100 years.
Thanks to the printing press, people were able to buy and read Shakespeare’s plays and the books and poems of other Elizabethan Age writers.
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