the town of Augsburg, near Nuremberg, lived a very clever publisher named Johann
Schönsperger (c. 1455-before 1521), who specialized in 'reprints.' Since copyright
laws did not yet exist, it is perhaps inappropriate to speak of Schönsperger's
versions of the Nuremberg Chronicle as pirated. Nevertheless, three
years after Koberger published the Latin and German versions of the Chronicle,
Schönsperger published a German version with the exact same text and the same
number of images. His version, however, was much smaller (only 7 1/2" x 11"
versus Koberger's much larger 12" x 16 1/2"), used inferior paper, and was,
consequently, far more affordable. Needless to say, it sold extremely well.
So well, in fact, that a planned revised edition of the Chronicle by
Schreyer and Koberger was scrapped. A year later Schönsperger sought to capture
the academic market with his Latin version. And in 1500, because the German
reprint of 1496 had such excellent sales, Schönsperger produced a second edition
of the German version.
These two pages, Koberger's 1493 on the left (folio CCXXXVIr) and Schönsperger's 1497
on the right (folio CCLXIIIIv), share the same text, though Schönsperger's version
employs a smaller typeface, more numerous abbreviations, and even makes typographical
corrections to the earlier version's sometimes sloppy printing (on this page
note in the detail below that the upside-down 'n' in Koberger's 'Coucilium'
has been corrected in Schönsperger's version.).
A closer look at the illustration of the Council of Pisa reveals that Schönsperger has kept the original graphic design of Koberger's woodcut, but, constrained by space, has simplified it by reducing the number of individuals in the scene.