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Chapbooks Brief History

Chapbooks were the poor man’s readers

They helped to spread literacy.

These are small books with a long history.


Here you see contemporary chapbooks with letterpress printing on their covers. They may call themselves booklets, or pamphlets, or zines; but the earliest examples of chapbooks go back to the print revolution after 1450. In German, a chapbook was a Volksbuch or people’s book.

Here is an account of their origins: