The influence of the book trade
‘learning cannot be too common, and the commoner the better’ (Montainge)
By 1500 St Paul’s Churchyard had become the hub of the London book trade, with shops and stalls occupied by stationers, booksellers and bookbinders. The location, near the City’s schools, monasteries and Inns of Court offered distinct commercial advantages, and the concentration of traders specializing in different aspects of the same business was also helpful to the customer who could stroll around to find a particular volume from the huge variety of specialist texts on sale in many languages.
Encouraged by Caxton’s efforts to publish texts in the vernacular, English became standardised and was gradually adopted as the language of choice. The impact of Renaissance Humanism and the Reformation also contributed to the demand for books in English.