From the fifteenth to the nineteenth century, between the end of the Middle Ages and the industrial revolution, printing, publishing and book-related trades occupied a not insignificant place in the urban geography of Rouen and indeed in its identity. The coming of the printed book was to transform the structure of the book trade and its public, bringing about a set of new relationships between book and city. At the political level as in publishing, Rouen was now relegated, like the other regional centres of the country, to the role of more or less a passive transmitter of Parisian influence. For a long period in the nineteenth century the fifth city of France, Rouen sank into a state of nostaligic decline that was not without its charm. Up to the end of the twentieth century, printing workshops, bookshops and even publishing houses, have continued to contribute book and printed matters to the animation of Rouen's streets and alleys.