Books are probably the most important invention of the past. If it were not for books the place that we live in right now would not exist. The information and knowledge put down in books are the world wide memory of millions upon billions of people`s thoughts and actions throughout decades!
I love reading books. I have a passion for books that gives me knowledge that I can use today to make myself better. Other people love romance novels or action novels. Some might like books on engineering and other people like to study religion and the different books. Some people here in Canada that are academic smart might love to read the book of law or the Income Tax act of Canada.
What can we be grateful for about the books that we have and that are being created:
- Books can give you great knowledge that you can use for great achievements.
- Books gives us joy.
- Books can make you question your own thoughts and paradigms.
- Books will make you laugh.
- Books will make you cry.
- Books will make you enjoy your life.
- Books make you believe.
- That you own a book.
- Books will make you understand something.
- Books will give you knowledge.
- Books can change your life.
- Books can make you have a great intimate life.
- Books can learn you how to cook a great meal.
- Books can make you have direction in life.
- Books are amazing.
- A book can have a leather cover.
- A book can give you faith.
- A book is brown.
- A book can have pictures in it.
- A book can give you knowledge of nearly anything you want to know.
- A book will help you travel.
- A book will help you know how to put together a jet-engine.
- A book can change a country’s knowledge.
- A book can revolutionize the world.
- A book can open up your mind.
- A book can make you aware of what the governments do.
- A book can teach you how to be positive.
- A book is something that you could fill time wasted on watching TV with.
- A book gives you insight in history.
- A book makes us aware of what people have done in their life so we can learn from it 🙂
A book is simply incredible and a lot of fun. I love to read my books. My wife love to read her books. Because of books I have been able to change my life forever and are enjoying my life to the fullest no matter what the circumstances is.
History of the books:
History of books
When writing systems were invented in ancient civilizations, nearly everything that could be written upon—stone, clay, tree bark, metal sheets—was used for writing. Alphabetic writing emerged in Egypt about 5,000 years ago. The Ancient Egyptians would often write on papyrus, a plant grown along the Nile River. At first the words were not separated from each other (scriptura continua) and there was no punctuation. Texts were written from right to left, left to right, and even so that alternate lines read in opposite directions. The technical term for this type of writing is ‘boustrophedon,’ which means literally ‘ox-turning’ for the way a farmer drives an ox to plough his fields.
Papyrus, a thick paper-likematerial made by weaving the stems of the papyrus plant, then pounding the woven sheet with a hammer-like tool, was used for writing in Ancient Egypt, perhaps as early as the First Dynasty, although the first evidence is from the account books of King Neferirkare Kakai of the Fifth Dynasty (about 2400 BC). Papyrus sheets were glued together to form a scroll. Tree bark such as lime (Latinliber, from which also comes library) and other materials were also used.
According to Herodotus (History 5:58), the Phoenicians brought writing and papyrus to Greece around the 10th or 9th century BC. The Greek word for papyrus as writing material (biblion) and book (biblos) come from the Phoenician port town Byblos, through which papyrus was exported to Greece. From Greek we also derive the word tome (Greek: τόμος), which originally meant a slice or piece and from there began to denote “a roll of papyrus”. Tomuswas used by the Latins with exactly the same meaning as volumen (see also below the explanation by Isidore of Seville).
Whether made from papyrus, parchment, or paper, scrolls were the dominant form of book in the Hellenistic, Roman, Chinese, and Hebrew cultures. The more modern codex book format form took over the Roman world by late antiquity, but the scroll format persisted much longer in Asia.
Papyrus scrolls were still dominant in the 1st century AD, as witnessed by the findings in Pompeii. The first written mention of the codex as a form of book is fromMartial, in his Apophoreta CLXXXIV at the end of the century, where he praises its compactness. However the codex never gained much popularity in the pagan Hellenistic world, and only within the Christian community did it gain widespread use. This change happened gradually during the 3rd and 4th centuries, and the reasons for adopting the codex form of the book are several: the format is more economical, as both sides of the writing material can be used; and it is portable, searchable, and easy to conceal. The Christian authors may also have wanted to distinguish their writings from the pagan texts written on scrolls.
Wax tablets were the normal writing material in schools, in accounting, and for taking notes. They had the advantage of being reusable: the wax could be melted, and reformed into a blank. The custom of binding several wax tablets together (Roman pugillares) is a possible precursor for modern books (i.e. codex). The etymology of the word codex (block of wood) also suggests that it may have developed from wooden wax tablets.
In the 5th century, Isidore of Seville explained the relation between codex, book and scroll in his Etymologiae (VI.13): “A codex is composed of many books; a book is of one scroll. It is called codex by way of metaphor from the trunks (codex) of trees or vines, as if it were a wooden stock, because it contains in itself a multitude of books, as it were of branches.”
The fall of the Roman Empire in the 5th century A.D. saw the decline of theculture of ancient Rome. Papyrus became difficult to obtain due to lack of contact with Egypt, and parchment, which had been used for centuries, became the main writing material.
Monasteries carried on the Latin writing tradition in the Western Roman Empire. Cassiodorus, in the monastery of Vivarium (established around 540), stressed the importance of copying texts. St. Benedict of Nursia, in his Regula Monachorum (completed around the middle of the 6th century) later also promoted reading. The Rule of St. Benedict (Ch.XLVIII), which set aside certain times for reading, greatly influenced the monastic culture of the Middle Ages and is one of the reasons why the clergy were the predominant readers of books. The tradition and style of the Roman Empire still dominated, but slowly the peculiar medieval book culture emerged.
Before the invention and adoption of the printing press, almost all books were copied by hand, which made books expensive and comparatively rare. Smaller monasteries usually had only a few dozen books, medium-sized perhaps a few hundred. By the 9th century, larger collections held around 500 volumes and even at the end of the Middle Ages, the papal library in Avignon and Paris library of Sorbonneheld only around 2,000 volumes.
- Calligraphers, who dealt in fine book production
- Copyists, who dealt with basic production and correspondence
- Correctors, who collated and compared a finished book with the manuscript from which it had been produced
- Illuminators, who painted illustrations
- Rubricators, who painted in the red letters
The bookmaking process was long and laborious. The parchment had to be prepared, then the unbound pages were planned and ruled with a blunt tool or lead, after which the text was written by the scribe, who usually left blank areas for illustration and rubrication. Finally, the book was bound by the bookbinder.
Different types of ink were known in antiquity, usually prepared from soot and gum, and later also from gall nuts and iron vitriol. This gave writing a brownish black color, but black or brown were not the only colors used. There are texts written in red or even gold, and different colors were used for illumination. Sometimes the whole parchment was colored purple, and the text was written on it with gold or silver (for example, Codex Argenteus).
Irish monks introduced spacing between words in the 7th century. This facilitated reading, as these monks tended to be less familiar with Latin. However, the use of spaces between words did not become commonplace before the 12th century. It has been argued that the use of spacing between words shows the transition from semi-vocalized reading into silent reading.
The first books used parchment or vellum (calf skin) for the pages. The book covers were made of wood and covered with leather. Because dried parchment tends to assume the form it had before processing, the books were fitted with clasps or straps. During the later Middle Ages, when public libraries appeared, up to 18th century, books were often chained to a bookshelf or a desk to prevent theft. These chained books are called libri catenati.
At first, books were copied mostly in bars, one at a time. With the rise of universities in the 13th century, the Manuscript culture of the time led to an increase in the demand for books, and a new system for copying books appeared. The books were divided into unbound leaves (pecia), which were lent out to different copyists, so the speed of book production was considerably increased. The system was maintained by secular stationers guilds, which produced both religious and non-religious material.
Judaism has kept the art of the scribe alive up to the present. According to Jewish tradition, the Torah scroll placed in asynagogue must be written by hand on parchment, and a printed book would not do, though the congregation may use printed prayer books, and printed copies of the Scriptures are used for study outside the synagogue. A sofer (scribe) is a highly respected member of any observant Jewish community.
The Arabs revolutionised the book’s production and its binding in the medieval Islamic world. They were the first to produce paper books after they learnt papermaking from the Chinese in the 8th century. Particular skills were developed for script writing (Arabic calligraphy), miniatures and bookbinding. The people who worked in making books were called Warraqin or paper professionals. The Arabs made books lighter—sewn with silk and bound with leather covered paste boards, they had a flap that wrapped the book up when not in use. As paper was less reactive to humidity, the heavy boards were not needed. The production of books became a real industry and cities like Marrakech, Morocco, had a street named Kutubiyyin or book sellers which contained more than 100 bookshops in the 12th century; the famous Koutoubia Mosque is named so because of its location in this street. In the words of Don Baker:
The world of Islam has produced some of the most beautiful books ever created. The need to write down the Revelations which the Prophet Muhammad, may peace be upon him, received, fostered the desire to beautify the object which conveyed these words and initiated this ancient craft. Nowhere else, except perhaps in China, has writing been held in such high esteem. Splendid illumination was added with gold and vibrant colours, and the whole book contained and protected by beautiful bookbindings.
The medieval Islamic world also developed a unique method of reproducing reliable copies of a book in large quantities, known as check reading, in contrast to the traditional method of a single scribe producing only a single copy of a single manuscript, as was the case in other societies at the time. In the Islamic check reading method, only “authors could authorize copies, and this was done in public sessions in which the copyist read the copy aloud in the presence of the author, who then certified it as accurate.” With this check-reading system, “an author might produce a dozen or more copies from a single reading,” and with two or more readings, “more than one hundred copies of a single book could easily be produced.”
Modern paper books are printed on papers which are designed specifically for the publication of printed books. Traditionally, book papers are off white or low white papers (easier to read), are opaque to minimise the show through of text from one side of the page to the other and are (usually) made to tighter caliper or thickness specifications, particularly for case bound books. Typically, books papers are light weight papers 60 to 90 g/m² and often specified by their caliper/substance ratios (volume basis). For example, a bulky 80 g/m² paper may have a caliper of 120 micrometres (0.12 mm) which would be Volume 15 (120×10/80) where as a low bulk 80 g/m² may have a caliper of 88 micrometres, giving a volume 11. This volume basis then allows the calculation of a books PPI (printed pages per inch) which is an important factor for the design of book jackets and the binding of the finished book. Different paper qualities are used as book paper depending on type of book: Machine finished coated papers, woodfree uncoated papers, coated fine papers and special fine papers are common paper grades.
Wood block printing
In woodblock printing, a relief image of an entire page was carved into blocks of wood, inked, and used to print copies of that page. This method originated in China, in the Han dynasty (before 220AD), as a method ofprinting on textiles and later paper, and was widely used throughout East Asia. The oldest dated book printed by this method is The Diamond Sutra(868 AD).
The method (called Woodcut when used in art) arrived in China in the early 14th century. Books (known as block-books), as well as playing-cards and religious pictures, began to be produced by this method. Creating an entire book was a painstaking process, requiring a hand-carved block for each page; and the wood blocks tended to crack, if stored for long. The monks or people who wrote them were paid highly.
Movable type and incunabula
“Selected Teachings of Buddhist Sages and Son Masters”, the earliest known book printed with movable metal type, 1377. Bibliothèque nationale de France.
The Chinese inventor Bi Sheng made movable type of earthenware circa 1045, but there are no known surviving examples of his printing. Metal movable type was invented in Korea during the Goryeo Dynasty (around 1230), but was not widely used: one reason being the enormous Chinesecharacter set. Around 1450, in what is commonly regarded as an independent invention, Johannes Gutenberg invented movable type in Europe, along with innovations in casting the type based on a matrix andhand mould. This invention gradually made books less expensive to produce, and more widely available.
Early printed books, single sheets and images which were created before the year 1501 in Europe are known as incunabula. A man born in 1453, the year of the fall of Constantinople, could look back from his fiftieth year on a lifetime in which about eight million books had been printed, more perhaps than all the scribes of Europe had produced since Constantine founded his city in A.D. 330.
Steam-powered printing presses became popular in the early 19th century. These machines could print 1,100 sheets per hour, but workers could only set 2,000 letters per hour.
The centuries after the 15th century were thus spent on improving both the printing press and the conditions for freedom of the press through the gradual relaxation of restrictive censorship laws. See also intellectual property, public domain, copyright. In mid-20th century, European book production had risen to over 200,000 titles per year.
Book manufacturing in the modern world
The spine of the book is an important aspect in book design, especially in the cover design. When the books are stacked up or stored in a shelf, the details on the spine is the only visible surface that contains the information about the book. In stores, it is the details on the spine that attract buyers’ attention first.
The methods used for the printing and binding of books continued fundamentally unchanged from the 15th century into the early years of the 20th century. While there was of course more mechanization, Gutenberg would have had no difficulty in understanding what was going on if he had visited a book printer in 1900.
The term e-book is a contraction of “electronic book”; it refers to a digital version of a conventional print book. An e-book is usually made available through the internet, but also on CD-ROM and other forms. E-Books may be read either via a computer or by means of a portable book display device known as an e-book reader, such as the Sony Reader, Barnes & Noble Nook or the Amazon Kindle. These devices attempt to mimic the experience of reading a print book.
Throughout the 20th century, libraries have faced an ever-increasing rate of publishing, sometimes called an information explosion. The advent of electronic publishing and the Internet means that much new information is not printed in paper books, but is made available online through a digital library, on CD-ROM, or in the form of e-books. An on-line book is an e-book that is available online through the internet.
There have also been new developments in the process of publishing books. Technologies such as print on demand, which make it possible to print as few as one book at a time, have made self-publishing much easier and more affordable. On-demand publishing has allowed publishers, by avoiding the high costs of warehousing, to keep low-selling books in print rather than declaring them out of print.
Definitely books have changed the world and if you have one be grateful for it because not everyone might have the luxury of having one 🙂
So go out and study and get the knowledge to change your life:)
John Thore Stub Sneisen(c)
Be grateful for the life books have given us!