A Parisian melting-pot

The world of publishing in Paris was truly a melting pot, and one could find individuals from all across Europe. The first printers to set up in Paris were German and Swiss: Ulrich Gering, Martin Krantz and Michel Friburger came from Basel and Beromünster. Johann Heynlin came from Schwebus in Silesia, and his partner Jean Stoll studied in Basel. Thielman Kerver was originally from Koblenz, and Jean Schabeler was born in Wurtemberg. Throughout the 16th century, Paris was home to a number of German-speaking printers (most of them from Basel and Alsace); they included Johann Higman, Berthold Rembolt, Thielman Kerver, Thomas Kees, Johann de Koblenz and Konrad Resch.

The varied origins of French publishers proved to be a real commercial asset.

Printers also hailed from Flanders and the Netherlands, such as Chrétien Wechel, Josse Bade, Gérard Morrhy, Jean Waterloose, Wolfgang Hopyl and Louis Cyaneus. French printers and booksellers from the four corners of France met in Paris – Geoffroy Tory came from the Berry, Prigent Calvarin and Philippe Danfrie from Brittany, Nicolas Chesneau from Anjou, Antoine Caillaut from Touraine and Fédéric Morel from Champagne. They maintained ties with their various regions, and often acted as messager-juré for the University. Henri Estienne was a messager for the diocese of Soissons, and Jacques Bogard for that of Mans.

This cosmopolitanism was a real commercial asset – when publishers joined forces for one or more publications, each provided the others with contacts in his region of origin. A few partners was all that was needed to open up extensive trade outlets and ensure that a book enjoyed wide circulation.

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