In the 1600s, newspapers were pamphlets about the size of modern-day paperback books. But in England by the early 1700s, newspapers began to be taxed by their number of pages....

In the 1600s, newspapers were pamphlets about the size of modern-day paperback books. But in England by the early 1700s, newspapers began to be taxed by their number of pages. To reduce taxes, publishers printed bigger pages and fewer of them, helping to create the broadsheet that until now has been considered standard.

Now papers are getting smaller again. ‘Compact’ sizes have caught on in Europe but in the US, reports the New York Times, American publishers have been balking because advertisers are not convinced they can get the same impact from ‘tabloids’ as they can from broadsheets.

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