The Birth Of Books- A History

Posted on Posted in The Book Blog

Books are man’s companion since ancient civilization. They not only peep into the culture, tradition, beliefs, social issues and stature of its time but also reveals the winds of change that are brewing in a society, a country or a civilization. Books retrospect into the past and envision a future as well. Thus Books can appropriately be called a flat, horizontal, layered crystal bowl of life. Or shall we only call them a box of memories? Whatever, we call them, Books say it all with words, images or both.

The Beginning

The history of books reverts to the ancient civilizations. The earliest form of books were clay tablets. They have been carbon dated to the 3rd Millennium BC especially around the ancient Assyria. They were used up to the 19th Century in countries like Germany, Chile, Philippines and the area around the Sahara Desert.

Just like the modern-day, the paper goes through various processes to become the final product such as soaking, draining, pressing, drying and cutting; the Papyrus went through processes like humidification, pressing, drying, gluing, and cutting to become a media for writing. Ancient Egypt from at least 2400 BC used Papyrus. After gluing several sheets of Papyrus gave them scrolls that were between 10-40 meters long. They were kept in a wooden cylinder. The Book of the Dead and several other scrolls have been excavated from Egyptian tombs.

Romans had their own unique way of recording events. They made wax tablets and used an apparatus similar to a stylus to write on them. The Romans and the Greeks also used the Papyrus as a writing medium at one point of time. Romans contributed for making the scrolls popular in around 3rd Century BC. Scrolls were made of animal’s skin like that of the cattle or donkey during that era. Incidentally, paper scrolls are still much in vogue for making a card or an invitation more dramatic and memorable.

Arrival of Paper

One of the biggest contributors to books is most likely China’s invention of paper, during the 1st century A.D. A man named Ts’ai Louen used a bark of blackberry bush to create paper. With the use of this new kind of writing material, Buddhist texts became readily available to many. In turn, paper became the most popular form of media.

The Aztec, Mesoamerican and the Mayan civilization used agave fiber, animal hides or long strips of paper to record events, or to communicate with the masses. Historians through excavated specimens in recent years educate us on how fiber, hides, and paper were originally folded and stored in wooden boxes for preservation in that era.

The Paper today comes in various shapes and sizes! Thus Books too come in different sizes but the most commonly used sizes are Folio, the Quarto, and Octavo. We promise to share more about them in the next blog!

Books have gone through several transformations, yet they have been the darling of every intellectual, every historian, and every person looking for an answer. Pick up an ancient-looking book with yellow pages and the whiff of mildew, or pick up a newly published one with crisp pages and an aroma of freshness, both will intrigue you to flip the first few pages, and then intrigues you to read the first few chapters until you read it till its back cover! That’s what books do to you they pull you into its magnetic ink etchings until they have you completely hooked to them!

Welcome to the world of books! At We Love Quality Books ( , come fall in love with books, over again!




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