Sunday, September 7, 2008

The Story of Books

In 1445, Gutenberg invented the printing press and an information boom followed. This new technology replaced the old system of monks copying by hand various written works. They had hand copied writing from parchment (animal skins scrapped clean and smooth). These had been painstakingly written out. In other parts of the world, plants created a writing surface, such the papyrus used in ancient Egypt. While in other places stone or clay was the writing surface.

Books were rare and costly and only the most wealthy and powerful actually owned books. Early monks and rulers traded books (called parchments) so they could be copied. A local church, school, or community was able to copy many books in a year. In fact, Irish monks helped save many ancient writings of Greece and Rome. They taught many people to read the books written in the Greek and the Latin languages. They also made copies of books found as they traveled across Europe in a time when education had become a rare thing in what known as the “The Dark Ages.”

The printing press meant books could be produced, and reproduced, in a less costly or time-consuming manner. That meant for the first time books would be available to a wider audience. As a result, more people learned to read, ideas were spread faster, and social changes occurred on a broader scale.

Try making your own paper. Find a recipe at this web address: or

1 comment:

Brother Wolf said...

Thanks for linking to my podcast The Art of Storytelling with Children. Your support is appreciated - let me know what topic you would like me to cover on the podcast?


Eric Wolf