how many books printed

Does anyone know of a list of how may books were printed in the early years of printing, IE in the 15th century…in the 16th century so many books etc.
I know these days the print hundreds of thousands or millions of copies, but before the linotype and monotype machines came along, when it was much harder to do, Im curious as to what the output was.


Estimating early print runs is actually rather more difficult than it may seem. It’s not the sort of thing that often got mentioned in contemporary documents and when it did, it tended to be for atypical cases. Counting surviving copies can only ever produce a minimum figure. Another approach is to estimate the total number of books a given printer might have produced and divide it by the number of the known titles under his imprint. All of which means that this is something bibliographers love to argue about. There isn’t even any real agreement about the print run of the First Folio, the early-modern book whose publishing history has been studied in the most mindblowing detail.

But, allowing for all the possible variations, ballpark figures would be 500 in 1500, rising to 1,000 by the seventeenth century. Note however that it was probably always more common for some books to get a larger run in a multiple of the standard figure than it was for them to get a smaller one.