The Middle Ages, specifically the end of them, was a time in which the publishing industry produced books more painstakingly then what we are used to presently. Hand copied manuscripts were the primary means of production, with books being far more tedious to make. This meant several things. There were generally fewer books in circulation, even in the realm of academia. Manuscripts were far more expensive, with those able to afford them only owning 2-3, which would become staples in the family for generations to come. Before the advent of the Gutenberg printing press, the process of publishing was certainly more about quality than it was about quantity, the difficulty of the process ensured that.
Fast forward to the 21st century, and although books are often mass produced, what gets mass produced is decided using the same mode of thought that existed during the late Middle Ages. Publishers still face the hard decision of deciding what to put out to the public, decisions that publishers like Matthew Stadler often find themselves making. Unlike most of his contemporaries however, he takes a more sympathetic approach to publishing. Publication Studios diverges from the typical publishing mold. If they like the work of a writer, they make with great care, and on individual machines, a single copy. No more are made until actual request for copies are made. This is somewhat reminiscent of how before the advent of the Gutenberg press, each copy of a manuscript, as well as the manuscript itself, was hand copied. Could this mean that we might possibly see the return of the focus on writers in the industry? Probably not, but this does not mean that what an organization like the Publication Studio is doing isn’t a good thing. They are giving hope to writers, something that is hard to come by in these times. When financial prospects seem, and are hard to come by, the motivation to write becomes purely passion based. Maybe, this will change if more people think along the lines of the Publication Studio, perhaps, one day in the future, writers can receive fair compensation for their writing, and not just the merits of their writing.