Nearly five centuries of science books

In four steps – from Renaissance to the dawn of the 20th century – this issue explores some aspects of the history of book sciences, as research and popularisation instruments also playing a role in economy. Adrian Johns speaks about the origin of science books in the Renaissance. Then, through the papers respectively by Bruce Lewenstein and Paola Govoni, the focus moves to science books in 19th-century America and Italy. They demonstrate that, in both countries, science books were a stimulus to the establishment of a national scientific community. Finally, Francesco De Ceglia exemplifies the role played by agrarian catechisms in the process of spreading farming skills among landowners.