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See also: Global spread of the printing press
In 1477 William Caxton in Westminster printed The Dictes or Sayengis of the Philosophres, considered "the first dated book printed in England."
The history of the book in the United Kingdom has been studied from a variety of cultural, economic, political, and social angles. The learned Bibliographical Society first met in 1892. In recent years influential scholars include Frederic Sutherland Ferguson, Philip Gaskell, Ronald Brunlees McKerrow, and Alfred W. Pollard.
As of 2018, seven firms in the United Kingdom rank among the world's biggest publishers of books in terms of revenue: Bloomsbury, Cambridge University Press, Informa, Oxford University Press, Pearson, Quarto, and RELX Group.[nb 1]
Main article: Book trade in the United Kingdom
The Antiquarian Booksellers Association formed in 1906, and the Provincial Booksellers Fairs Association in 1972.
The University of Oxford's Bodleian Library was founded in 1602.
The British Library was formally established in 1973, its collection previously part of the British Museum (est. 1753).
The Legal Deposit Libraries Act 2003 stipulates that the British Library receives a copy of every printed work published in the United Kingdom. Five other libraries are entitled to copies: Cambridge University Library, University of Oxford's Bodleian Library, the National Library of Scotland, the Library of Trinity College, Dublin, and the National Library of Wales. The London-based Copyright Agency became the Edinburgh-based Agency for the Legal Deposit Libraries in 2009.
US-based Google Inc. began scanning pages of Bodleian Library volumes in 2005, as part of its new Google Books Library Project.