A History of the Magazine and Booklet Printing

One item continues to keep booklet printing companies busy, and remains a favorite on bookstore, newsstand, and grocery store shelves. The magazine. These glossy page-turners can be artistic and fun. They are bought for the beauty of their photos, the long articles that expand on the current news, and the latest celebrity gossip. They are fun, quick, disposable reads that are easy to digest in small bites. How did it morph into what it is today?

Early Print

Early newspapers were published starting in the Roman Empire. These existed in Europe and Asia, and were full of government news. They were often interspersed with woodcut illustrations, because the literacy rates of the masses were so low. Newspapers morphed into magazines in 1700’s England. The first general interest magazine was The Gentleman’s Magazine, published in 1731. The first American magazine was published ten years later by two competing editors, one of whom was Benjamin Franklin. This was finally able to be done freely with the ratification of the first amendment. This allowed Americans with something to say the opportunity to do so without fear. Franklin’s role as Postmaster General helped him to outsell the other editor, Andrew Bradford, in revenue and ultimately survival of the magazine. This was not always honestly done, as Franklin was able to post his own magazine free of charge, and forbid mail carriers from mailing the other magazines.

Industrial Revolution

Magazines had a huge expansion at the time of the industrial revolution, due to several coinciding factors. Printing presses went from hand-crank to powered, and color printing was introduced. Postage rates were finally adjusted to that of newspapers. Improved technology in paper manufacturing also brought the raw material costs down, making booklet printing easier to afford. As a result, circulation of many magazines post-civil war soared into six digit figures.


Ads entered the magazine world in the 1890’s. Over the next two decades, magazines went from the voice of an editor or group into a sophisticated way to sell advertising and promote products. In the early twentieth century, magazines like Time and Ladies’ Home Journal were putting out great material and bringing in readers, but their real revenue was now advertising dollars.

Printing on Demand

With the advent of the internet, magazines and other items can once again be printed by anyone. No longer is a calendar printing company just selling calendars, but they do on-demand magazines, newsletters, and other items, as well. Writers need not restrict themselves to the pre-made items that a calendar printing company would offer. This is slowly putting the power of printed words back into the hands of anyone with something to say. As digital continues, it will give us the opportunity to hear fresh new voices once again.

Written by Glenn Cummins

Great customer service, friendly, easy to work with. The quality of the work is excellent. I recommend EBA Printing all the time.

Moshe R., Mequon, WI

EBA Printing Customer Reviews
Call Now Button