The manufacture of paper was revolutionized by Henri Fourdrinier in 1799 with the invention of the "conitinuous" paper-making machine. Powered by steam, the machine produced paper in a wide, continuous sheet, rolled together into large "webs" of printing paper. In turn, these webs of paper fed the newly mechanized steam presses, increasing hourly output nearly 100 times by mid-century.
In the 1860s, the extraction of paper from wood pulp (rather than cotton rags) lowered the price of paper, while increasing supply. As paper prices fell, the average cost of books fell also, often by 50% or more. Combined with advances in public education, book marketing, and newspaper/periodical distribution, mechanization helped to bring cheap literature to the masses for the first time in history.