Print culture embodies all forms of printed text and other printed forms of visual communication. One prominent scholar in the field is Elizabeth Eisenstein, who contrasted print culture, which appeared in Europe in the centuries after the advent of the Western printing-press (and much earlier in China where woodblock printing was used from 594 AD), to scribal culture. Walter Ong, by contrast, has contrasted written culture, including scribal, to oral culture. Ong is generally considered one of the first scholars to define print culture in contrast to oral culture. These views are related as the printing press brought a vast rise in literacy, so that one of its effects was simply the great expansion of written culture at the expense of oral culture. The development of printing, like the development of writing itself, had profound effects on human societies and knowledge. "Print culture" refers to the cultural products of the printing transformation.
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In terms of image-based communication, a similar transformation came in Europe from the fifteenth century on with the introduction of the old master print and, slightly later, popular prints, both of which were actually much quicker in reaching the mass of the population than printed text.
Print culture is the conglomeration of effects on human society that is created by making printed forms of communication. Print culture encompasses many stages as it has evolved in response to technological advances. Print culture can first be studied from the period of time involving the gradual movement from oration to script as it is the basis for print culture. As the printing became commonplace, script became insufficient and printed documents were mass-produced. The era of physical print has had a lasting effect on human culture, but with the advent of digital text, some scholars believe the printed word is becoming obsolete.