Book publishing: Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries
Toward the end of the seventeenth century, other significant centers of publishing developed; Philadelphia acquired a printing press in 1685, and New York City’s first press arrived in 1693. The eighteenth century brought wider readership among the middle classes. Theology remained the leading genre, but almanacs, primers, and law books also formed foundations of the industry.
Commercial lending libraries appeared in America during the eighteenth century, and they were followed by free, public lending libraries in the nineteenth century. Public libraries generated concern among publishers, who believed that such free access to books would decrease sales. Instead, the increased circulation of books through libraries expanded audience size and stimulated sales.