Printing is a process for reproducing text and images, typically with ink on paper using a printing press. It is often carried out as a large-scale industrial process, and is an essential part of publishing and transaction printing.
The earliest form of printing was woodblock printing, with existing examples from China dating to before 220 A.D. and Egypt to the fourth century. Later developments in printing include the movable type, first developed by Bi Sheng in China, and the printing press, a more efficient printing process for western languages with their more limited alphabets, developed by Johannes Gutenberg in the fifteenth century.
Across the world, over 45 trillion pages (2005 figure) are printed annually. In 2006 there were approximately 30,700 printing companies in the United States, accounting for $112 billion, according to the 2006 U.S. Industry & Market Outlook by Barnes Reports. Print jobs that move through the Internet made up 12.5% of the total U.S. printing market last year, according to research firm InfoTrend/CAP Ventures.