authors, self publishing, writing

The Gutenberg Effect: The Power of a Book to Change Culture

Five centuries ago, Johan Wilhelm Gutenberg introduced a new technology — the printing press — which radically changed the world. Prior to his invention, the creation of content was controlled by a few influential people. Elite church scholars decided what was worthy of writing and distributing. Scribes were a bottleneck in the reproduction of books. Consequently, the dissemination of knowledge and ideas was greatly restricted.

Gutenberg’s press changed all that. He put the power to produce books in the hands of the publisher instead of the scribe. The availability of his new technology removed boundaries which previously existed and changed the course of history. Martin Luther and others were able to produce and distribute Bibles and other books in their native tongues, which fueled the Reformation in Germany and throughout Europe. Education, learning and literacy exploded throughout the West, which led the way for scholarship in a multitude of disciplines. The effect of Gutenberg’s contribution had a profound and lasting impact on publishing, but it also brought about dramatic improvements in culture.

Today, we are experiencing a second Gutenberg effect brought about because of self publishing, which puts the power to produce and distribute content in the hands of the author, instead of just the publisher

Take Reg Green for example. Reg and his family became known around the world 15 years ago when their eight-year old son, Nicholas,  was murdered in a botched robbery while vacationing in Italy. At the time, Reg and his wife made the decision to donate Nicholas’ organs and sustaining and improving the lives of  seven Italians.  Since then Reg has written two books, The Nicholas Effect, which will be re-released in October and The Gift that Heals, (, which tells stories of organ donation from a number of perspectives.

Because of these books, Reg has become a sought-after speaker and advocate for organ donation. His impact on this cause worldwide has been profound — Reg speaks and organ donor declarations increase. So when one life is lost, many others are saved.


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