Mobile and marginal, street sellers tend to disappear from the historical record, yet they played a very important part in the dissemination of cheap print from the earliest days of Italian publishing. They operated in the most central spaces of Italian cities such as Venice and Florence, selling cheap printed pamphlets, fliers, and images alongside other small consumer goods. They helped to make print accessible to a wide audience, often engaging in oral hawking or performance that could reach beyond the confines of the fully literate minority. However, these sellers occupied an ambiguous position in Italian cities, more often welcomed by customers and audiences than by guilds and government authorities. The increasing restrictions on print peddlers introduced in the era of the Counter-Reformation reflect the efforts of civic and religious authorities to grapple with the contemporary challenges of a burgeoning print market.
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