Frankly Speaking: The Publisher-Retailer Tug-of-War
Creating a book is one thing; selling is something completely different. Gutenberg was both printer and publisher, as was Aldus, Plantin, Caxton and almost all the early printers. In the 1600s, book publishing, bookmaking and bookselling diverged.
As a kid, I haunted libraries because the books were free, and during the 1950s, I latched on to paperbacks. Most content consisted of the classics because they were in the public domain. Thus I read the classics only because they were 25¢. I bought those paperbacks from a metal rack at the corner Rexall or took the subway to Greenwich Village to visit Paperback Book Smith, a bookstore just for paperbacks.