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Interrogating printing licenses, this article reconstructs and examines New Spain’s preventive censorship—the procedure that reviewed manuscripts and regulated the economics of the Mexican publishing industry—from 1590 to 1612. As the book flowed from one bureaucracy to the next, writers benefited from their political, academic, and familiar relationships with censors and authorities. These networks helped expedite review and effectively made the printer subordinate to the author in Mexico. Ultimately, this study demonstrates the colony’s trade was author-centric, diverging from common European practice at the turn of the seventeenth century.