Books: One of my true loves.
If we have been fortunate, a parent or another caring adult introduced us to books when we very young, and in the process, formed a lifelong love. In my case, it was my mom, and I recall receiving my own copy of, "Heidi, the Mountain Child". That book set my imagination on fire. Books have always been part of my life.
But, until recent years, I rarely gave thought to what life must have been like before books were commonplace and easily acquired.
There was once a time when stone tablets sufficed, and animal skin pages, and papyrus scrolls, after paper production had become somewhat refined--all of these things. But before the invention of the printing press, all books were handcrafted. That is, a painfully slow process, page by page, books were copied by hand.
Each scribe (copyist) used his own style, and they weren't all done in print; there was cursive in use, with varying flourishes and embellishments added. Occasionally, a scribe took issue with a book he was copying, and included his own thoughts on the pages. At worst, scribes were sometimes held in as high regard as the original authors.
This handcrafting was expensive to do, too, and it had its limits. One limitation was that the number of people who were literate--capable of copying, was rather small. But, that worked out alright because the number of people who could read the finished books was actually quite small, too.
In this production method, most book owners were churches, governing bodies, and the very wealthy.
When the printing press was first invented, the wealthy rejected the idea of machine printed books. They felt there was something more refined, respectable, and worthy of ownership in a handcrafted book. So, it was left to the lower classes of people to see through the mass production of books.
And see it through they did. The Bible became obtainable for working class people. They started to become commonplace in homes. This was an affront to church hierarchy who held power by denying the holy book to anyone but clergy.
Many, many feathers were ruffled, and that Gutenberg press truly changed the landscape of the "publishing" world.
Along with increased book production, literacy grew. All from a change in the way books were made and then distributed.
Great changes have come many times in the production of books.
The modern-day great change is the e-book. Any guesses to what history will record of the ebook's advent?