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Caxton Prints the First Book Advertisement in the English Language

1476 to 1477
<p>The Bodleian copy of the first book advertisement in the English language, printed by William Caxton in 1476 or 1477. The original is not quite 15 cm. wide.</p>

The Bodleian copy of the first book advertisement in the English language, printed by William Caxton in 1476 or 1477. The original is not quite 15 cm. wide.

In 1476 or 1477 printer William Caxton issued the first book advertisement in the English language. The small broadside, which offered for sale Caxton’s edition of the Sarum Ordinal or Pye, the priest’s manual of variations in the Office during the ecclesiastical year, was intended to be displayed in the neighborhood outside Caxton's shop in Westminister Abbey. The seven-line Advertisement reads in its archaic spelling:

"If it plese any man spirituel or temporel to bye ony pyes of two and thre commemoraios of Salisburi use empryntid after the forme of this preset lettre whiche ben wel and truly correct, late hym to come to Westmonester in to the almonry at the reed pale and he shal have them good chepe. Supplicio stet cedula [please do not remove this handbill]."

ISTC no. ic00355700 cites copies at the John Rylands Library in Manchester and at the Bodleian Library, Oxford. In January 2015 a digital facsimile of the Bodleian copy was available at this link.

Painter, William Caxton. A Biography (1977) 98-99.

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