One of the world's four ancient civilizations, Chinese civilization has continued for thousands of years without interruption. It is a culture characterized by long history, rich content, unity in diversity, deep and far-reaching influence, and continuous development. To review 3,000 years of Chinese publishing is to see the reasons behind the changes that took place in each period of publishing activity. Therefore, the publication and presentation to the world of this illustrated summation of China's 3,000 years of publishing is of great significance.
The body of the book is divided into four periods, a chronological approach that displays China's publishing history and culture against the whole panorama of Chinese cultural development. Papermaking technology, printing technology and the application of modern digital technology are the transition markers, thus: 1. The invention of characters and the appearance of books-the era of writings on bamboo and silk; 2. The invention of papermaking technology——the era of books handwritten on paper; 3. The invention and development of printing technology-the printing era; 4. The development of digital technology, a profound influence on Chinese publishing-our current digital publishing era.
Modern Chinese publishing is highly diverse in character, a pattern that encompasses print publishing, on-line publishing and mobile-phone publishing. The Appendices cover book layout and binding in ancient China, large-scale compilations and complete works, and books most representative of Chinese culture.
The aims of this retrospective of 3,000 years of publishing in China are to explore the essence of Chinese publishing history, to clarify the course and changes in its development, to carry forward this precious historical and cultural legacy, to add to the accomplishments of the publishing industry and to present more outstanding publications to the world.