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The Birth Of Books- A History

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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 (www.welovequalitybooks.biz) , come fall in love with books, over again!

 

 

 

Ink

Ink! Let us spill some!

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Much ink has been spilled over for centuries to bring stories to life. Many have inked something in. Some have ended up bleeding red ink in their pursuit of spreading their words across the world. Some ink slingers have inked their victories with bestsellers. And there will be many more who would do so in future.

 

What is it that makes words reach across generations, races, countries, and civilizations? What makes the words a reality? How do readers find out how writers think? What makes bestsellers a reality?

 

It is Ink.

 

Without ink, there would be no books. And we love books at We Love Quality Books. So, how can we not talk discuss ink – the crew of book publishing.

 

Over 20 billion US Dollars was earned as revenue through printing ink in 2011 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ink). However, ink is not a new component. It’s an ancient ingredient that has been used continually over the years.

 

The use of ink goes as far back as 26 Century BC. China used graphite and animal fat to make ink. But if we look back further through the history of civilization, the use of ink probably existed much before the 26the Century BC. The Vedic age in India existed sometime around 30,000 BC. The four scriptures that basically define India and Indian mythology were written using some kind of substance although not much information has been gained about the kind of ink that was used to write the four scriptures.

 

Some kind of ink also existed during the Harappan Civilization as well that existed between 3500 and 1900 BC. They used symbols to write their text which is still undeciphered. The ink they used to write the text (when they were not on clay tablets) is still a mystery.

 

For centuries plant extracts and animal fat with soot was used to produce the writing material called ink.

 

Around 13,000 BC iron extracts were mixed with a plant extract called tannin to produce a thick liquid that was used as ink.

 

In Medieval Europe (800 AD – 1500 AD) processed plant extracts with wine were used to produce a thick liquid writing material or ink.

 

Johannes Gutenberg was a German printer and publisher who came up with the first printing press. He used a dye made of soot, varnish and egg white as ink in his printing press. Later a mixture of soot, turpentine oil and walnut oil was used to make an oily ink. Today, we generally use synthetic ink in publishing.

 

The global printing ink market in 2017 estimated to generate a revenue of an average of $18 million (https://bit.ly/2MUtC2c). Of that, Hewlett Packard made an annual revenue of $18.8 million in 2017 (https://bit.ly/2MPVvsl).

 

Ink is not only used to write books. Ink is also used to etch a new system of government. For example, India, Mexico, Indonesia, Malaysia among other developing countries use ‘unremovable’ ink to ensure a smooth electoral process.

 

Ink has been used through generations. It has left an indelible mark on the history of civilization. Without ink, there would be no written history, no books and probably no democracy (in the modern era).

 

What makes ink one of the most powerful elements in human advancement? How has ink engraved its influence through centuries and ages?

 

It is the boldness of its character that makes ink a powerful component. The power of ink was best described by the playwright, William Shakespeare in the comedy ‘Twelfth Night’- ‘Let there be gall enough in thy ink, though thou write with a goose-pen, no matter. -William Shakespeare.’

 

So, spill it, scribble, write and draw. Ink your thoughts to create the bestseller of your life.

 

ShelfJoy.com -the definitive hub for book lovers.

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Aakanksha Gaur founder of ShelfJoy.com

We at We Love Quality Books usually talk about books and authors. Today we will do something different. Let us introduce you to http://ShelfJoy.com -the definitive hub for book lovers.

It is the brainchild of Aakanksha Gaur, the maker of this online cocoon for readers. She leads her dedicated team to add magic and value in the lives of the reading community.

Book are fun! The joy of reading a new book is usually huger than the excitement of getting a present. While this statement is unconvincing to most, to a book lover it makes sense. No one can ignore a book lover’s matter of fact chuckle to the above view. Yes! to some literature is the world they reside in.

The devotional obsession with reading is strange to most. To that small population who adore reading, the world seems to be a bit lonelier than others. This online platform is for nascent book discoverers to the ancient book lovers. ShelfJoy.com  greets bookworms who desperately need a platform to talk about their reading with open arms. Reading triggers many emotions, questions, and conflicts. The best place to talk about it all is here- ShelfJoy.com. For user convenience, the site is available on Facebook Messenger as well. Currently, the team of ShelfJoy.com is in the process of setting up new exciting features that’ll include signup with Facebook and an overhauled search functionality.

ShelfJoy has crossed hundred thousand book recommendations already!

ShelfJoy.com takes readers on a journey through the eyes of the users who read and share their bookshelves with others. The tagline of ShelfJoy.com hits the bull’s eye- ‘Curated by the people who know and love reading’. A whole world of bibliophile come to the platform to share their favorite books.

Similar to a real library, this online library has been categorised into shelves namely: Fiction, Biography & Autobiography, Business & Economy, History, Juvenile Fiction, Social Science, Literary Collections, Self-Help, Science, Political Science, Young Adult Fiction, Philosophy, Psychology, Literary Criticism, Art, Comic & Graphic Novels, Books, Religion, Travel and many more!

ShelfJoy is a platform by readers,  for readers. This is a place where ideas and concepts are shared that develop a new line of thoughts.

The team of ShelfJoy is enthusiastic about guiding the users. There is a section on the home page that allows the user to ask the team questions, doubts or suggestions. This allows the platform to be more interactive. We browse through a lot of sites on a daily basis yet there are only a few sites we tend to visit again.

227518 Books have been recommended by the users till today and the number is growing! This shows the huge impact the site has on its visitors.

Book Lovers I assure you that http://shelfjoy.com/ is a virtual reading room that you will definitely want to revisit repeatedly.

 

 

http://www.welovequalitybooks.biz

Paperback Post!

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Who doesn’t love an engaging piece of writing? Who doesn’t think twice before putting down a glossy and intriguing front cover with an interesting synopsis? How many times has a book lover debated on buying a book from the airport or the railway station? Only to give into the temptation!

The answer to all these questions is a superlative ‘Yes’!

Everyone obsesses over some book or the other resulting in re-reads. An alluring cover always tempts everybody to buy a good looking book. Perpetually, all  have succumbed to the urge, in splurging at an over the counter book. Travelling provides the greatest boost to the sale of Books. Travellers prefer handy, short and interesting read while they tour in different modes of transport.

A History of Paperbacks

Invariably the light weighted Paperbacks rule the choice of book buyers! Paperbacks are generally economically more viable and are easy to carry manuscripts. They do not take too much space in a  travelling bag, nor do they pile on the weight of luggage considerably. They are light, inexpensive, and accessible. To top of it all, they serve as a valuable gift for every book lover. So often, a book lover ends up finding excuses for an impulsive splurge at a bookshop. However with little or no regret!

Paperbacks came into existence in the 19th Century. They developed with the improvement in printing methods (like the steam-powered paper printing press and pulp mills). The strategic book distribution processes also led to the popularity of Paperbacks. At one stage the name ‘Yellowbooks’ defined softcover books . They came into existence with a strategy of mass production with publishers like Routledge & Sons, that was founded and prospered between 1836 -1898. Ward and Locke Publications in 1854 were the other publishers earning fame with Paperbacks. Both the publishing houses supplied books through W. H Smiths who monopolised the bookstores in railway stations in the United Kingdom. One can handily find the A W.H Smith bookstore in many of the railway stations of Commonwealth countries even today. Publication houses like the German ‘Tauchnitz’ published famous British and American works by different authors. ‘Reclam’ published the works of Shakespeare from October 1857 to November 1967.

Penguin Publications revolutionised Paperbacks and became a huge success in 1935. They incorporated the pioneering techniques in publishing introduced by the German publication house-Albatross Books. As this ill-fated publishing house vanquished due to the Second World War, without any immediate competition, Penguin Publications flourished. Penguin published ‘Ariel’ by the author André Maurois- its first Paperback in 1935 and have never looked back since. Penguin Publications integrated the ‘Color Coding’ technique of Albatross Publications leveraging their appeal in book publications. In USA Robert de Graf and Simon & Schuster created the ‘Pocket Book’ in an alignment of the Paperbacks.

The availability of finding latest books in the kiosks, over the counter shops and a grandmother’s trunk, always sounds like an incredible surprise! Why not surprise our loved ones with a Paperback someday? Coz reading a book does not demand an occasion or a specific emotion. All it needs is some spare time and a cuppa.