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A New Business Model

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Chapter Summary

Institutional support was a critical factor in the development of a vibrant local printing press. The return of the presses to Brittany was not easy to sustain; the continued strength of the booksellers' network meant that these provincial printers had to compete with cheap high-quality imprints from Lyon, Paris and even further afield. In many French provincial towns printing presses relied on municipal or ecclesiastical institutions for much of their trade. Bishops played a central part in encouraging the development of the presses in a number of cities. Their role was multifaceted: they acted as authors, but also as editors and as investors. A methodical survey of the municipal deliberations of the two main Breton cities demonstrates that during the second half of the sixteenth century, the developing municipalities grasped the opportunities offered by the printing press to communicate with the population of their own town.

Keywords: Brittany; business model; printing press



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