Books... Humans have a long history of creating them. In days before the printing press was invented, books were copied by hand. The majority of people were illiterate, so most of the time, the profession of copying books fell into the hands of clergy members.
As you can well imagine, it was a slow--and expensive process to create a book. The most often copied book was the Bible. And every well-to-do home that could afford literacy and a book, had a Bible.
Although there were ways to print before the early 1400s, it was the Gutenberg press that precipitated the greatest change in book production. (The current "Gutenberg Project" to scan out-of-copyright books into free ebooks is named after this press.) The price of books fell, and with the raised availability of books,many more people had them--especially the Bible in their homes. In remote areas (such as newly settled areas in the New World) the Bible often served as the book for teaching children how to read.
Now, here we are at the advent of another major change in how books are produced. Ebooks, and POD are changing the face of publishing. Another post will delve into that, though.
Do you feel the shift in book production? Do you have any old books that you treasure, any antique books?
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This WIKI article on "Books" is a pretty interesting read--for when you have time. ;-)