Reading education and reading requirements in Norwegian cities before 1750

The first print shop in a Norwegian city was established as late as 1643, and the following ones in 1721 and 1743. However, during this period there were several book vendors in Norwegian cities that provided printed matters; this was done locally, through subscription from abroad, or during travels abroad. However, for books to be of interest, people had to possess reading skills. The article explores to what extent the population in Norwegian cities were literate during the period before 1750, and how they acquired reading skills. The article argues that the varied social structure in cities also resulted in diverse needs regarding reading, and the teaching varied according to the needs of the different social groups. Different reading practices and skills indicate the different kind of texts the reading public were interested in or able to read.