Once books get printed in hundreds of copies, it is essential to be able to sell them beyond the place of production. Venice quickly became the leading place not only of production, but also of distribution, with exports all over Europe.
We have very few documentary sources of this new booktrade, but half a million of the books which were traded still survive today: they are our historical sources. Now we have found a way to capture the evidence of this 15th-century booktrade, by tracking their movement. The evidence is in the books themselves, but needs to be ‘decoded’ and translated into spatial and chronological coordinates.
For example: printed books were generally finished off with hand-decoration, this was done in the place where the book was sold, it is therefore evidence of its export.