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William Caxton
In old days, books were not printed as they are now; they were written by hand. This took a long time to do, so there were not many books, and they were so dear that only the rich could buy them.

But after a time, some clever men made a machine, called a printing-press, which could print letters.

About that time, an Englishman, named William Caxton, lived in Holland, and copied books for a great lady. He says his hand grew tired with writing, and his eyes became dim with much looking on white paper. So he learned how to print, and had a printing-press made for himself, which he brought to England. He set it up in a little shop in London, and then he began to print books. He printed books of all sorts—tales, and poetry, and history, and prayers, and sermons. In the time which it had formerly taken him to write one book, he could now print thousands.

All sorts of people crowded to his shop to see Caxton's wonderful press; sometimes the king went with his nobles. Many of them took written books with them, which they wished to have put into print. Some people asked Caxton to use in his books the most curious words he could find; others wished him to print only old and homely words. Caxton liked best the common, simple words which men used daily in their speech.

Caxton did a very good thing when he brought the printing-press to England, for, after that, books became much cheaper, so that many people could buy them, and learning spread in the land.


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