This study re-examines fundamental aspects of what has been termed the printing revolution of the early modern period. David McKitterick argues that many of the changes associated with printing were only gradually absorbed over almost 400 years, a much longer period than usually suggested. From the 1450s onwards, the printed word and image became familiar in most of Europe. For authors, makers of books, and readers, manuscript and print were henceforth to be understood as complements to each other, rather than alternatives. But while printing seems to offer more textual and pictorial consistency than manuscripts, this was not always the case. McKitterick argues that book history and bibliography have been dominated by notions of the uses of the early printed book that did not come into existence until the late nineteenth century, and he invites his readers to work forward from the past, rather than backwards into it.