Printer (publishing)

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Print shops in the 15th century per establishment date and book output

In publishing, printers are both companies providing printing services and individuals who directly operate printing presses.

The profession of printer became established after the invention of the moveable type printing press by Johannes Gutenberg around 1450, and proliferated throughout Europe. Such early printers often were recognizable by individual characteristics in the works they produced, such as type or typography, and since early printed books were made in relatively small quantities they are rare and collectible.

Today's printers include:

  • Newspaper printers, often owned by newspaper publishers
  • Magazine printers, usually independent of magazine publishers
  • Book printers, often not directly connected with book publishers
  • Stationery printers
  • Packaging printers
  • Commercial printers, often offering digital and traditional printing services
  • Trade printers, who offer wholesale rates within the printing industry

An artist who operates a printing press to execute their own works, especially by hand in limited runs, is usually distinguished from other printers by the term printmaker.