Published online by Cambridge University Press: 17 September 2020
Chapter 2 looks in detail at the economics of paper and its value. Starting from the vexed question of cost, it untangles a number of threads regarding other economic concerns relating to the journey of paper to England. England was not at the periphery of paper use, because it was a leading producer of wool. This flourishing market attracted the mercantile community which elected to use paper as the tool of their trade. This chapter also suggests that the great success that paper enjoyed as technology and craft was in direct proportion to its multiple uses, of which book making is only one aspect of that story. This chapter discusses the availability of Italian paper and its distribution from Italy to Europe more widely and thinks more carefully about the quality of paper, different types of paper, and the evidence for its arrival in England. This chapter reconsiders the papermaking process from the point of view of its many products and how these products then circulated within international and English markets. Building on the first chapter, I argue that the spread of paper to England and its use in administrative and book production is not dissimilar from that of other European countries.