This list includes those guilds and trade confraternities that explicitly mentioned the book trade in their titles; I have tended to exclude organisations whose title was unrelated to the trade but included book trade members (as in the case of towns that may have had only a handful of guilds). In cases where a distinction is not clear (most notably the Lucasguilds of the Low Countries), I have italicised the name of the body. Each country receives its own page; towns or cities are listed alphabetically. Where possible, the original name of the organisation is given. 

I am very grateful to Paul Arblaster (Low Countries), Stacey Gee (York), James Shaw (Venice), Paul Hoftijzer, Jan Lucassen and Bibi Panhuysen (Low Countries), and Marieke T.G.E. van Delft (Low Countries) for their help in compiling this list.

Ian Gadd, December 2008

What is a guild?

I use the term 'guild' in its generic sense to refer to 'a formally-constituted, exclusive association with some power to regulate occupation(s) over a limited geographical area' (Gadd and Wallis, p. xvi). Economic historians often use the term 'craft guild' or 'trade guild' to distinguish it from other forms of association that were also known as guilds. (The term 'guild' in English is more problematic in that it wasn't used by contemporaries to describe bodies that we would now consider to be 'craft guilds' or 'trade guilds'; instead, words such as 'Company', 'Society' or 'Corporation' were often used.) 

Country by country

Low Countries (including Spanish Netherlands)

Recent essay collections on European guilds in general 

  • S.R. Epstein et al, eds., Guilds, Economy, and Society (Madrid, 1998)
  • H.-G. Haupt, ed., Das Ende der Zünfte: Ein europäischer Vergleich (Göttingen, 2002) 
  • P. Massa and A. Moioli, eds., Dalla corporazione al mutuo soccorso: Organizzazione e tutela del lavoro tra XVI e XX secolo (Milan, 2004) 
  • Ian A. Gadd and Patrick Wallis, eds., Guilds and Association in Europe, 900-1900 (London, 2006) 
  • S.R. Epstein and Maarten Prak, eds., Guilds, Innovation and the European Economy, 1400-1800 (Cambridge, 2008)