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An avid reader or collector of books is a bibliophile or colloquially, "bookworm". A place where books are traded is a bookshop or bookstore.
Books are also sold elsewhere and can be borrowed from libraries. Google has estimated that in , approximately ,, titles had been published.
It is thus conjectured that the earliest Indo-European writings may have been carved on beech wood. When writing systems were created in ancient civilizations , a variety of objects, such as stone, clay , tree bark, metal sheets, and bones, were used for writing; these are studied in epigraphy.
A tablet is a physically robust writing medium, suitable for casual transport and writing. Clay tablets were flattened and mostly dry pieces of clay that could be easily carried, and impressed with a stylus.
They were used as a writing medium, especially for writing in cuneiform , throughout the Bronze Age and well into the Iron Age. Wax tablets were pieces of wood covered in a coating of wax thick enough to record the impressions of a stylus.
They were the normal writing material in schools, in accounting, and for taking notes. They had the advantage of being reusable: the wax could be melted, and reformed into a blank.
The custom of binding several wax tablets together Roman pugillares is a possible precursor of modern bound codex books. Scrolls can be made from papyrus , a thick paper-like material made by weaving the stems of the papyrus plant, then pounding the woven sheet with a hammer-like tool until it is flattened.
Papyrus was used for writing in Ancient Egypt , perhaps as early as the First Dynasty , although the first evidence is from the account books of King Neferirkare Kakai of the Fifth Dynasty about BC.
Tree bark such as lime and other materials were also used. According to Herodotus History , the Phoenicians brought writing and papyrus to Greece around the 10th or 9th century BC.
The Greek word for papyrus as writing material biblion and book biblos come from the Phoenician port town Byblos , through which papyrus was exported to Greece.
Tomus was used by the Latins with exactly the same meaning as volumen see also below the explanation by Isidore of Seville.
Whether made from papyrus, parchment , or paper, scrolls were the dominant form of book in the Hellenistic, Roman, Chinese, Hebrew, and Macedonian cultures.
The more modern codex book format form took over the Roman world by late antiquity , but the scroll format persisted much longer in Asia.
Isidore of Seville d. It is called codex by way of metaphor from the trunks codex of trees or vines, as if it were a wooden stock, because it contains in itself a multitude of books, as it were of branches.
A codex in modern usage is the first information repository that modern people would recognize as a "book": leaves of uniform size bound in some manner along one edge, and typically held between two covers made of some more robust material.
However, the codex never gained much popularity in the pagan Hellenistic world, and only within the Christian community did it gain widespread use.
A book is much easier to read, to find a page that you want, and to flip through. A scroll is more awkward to use.
The Christian authors may also have wanted to distinguish their writings from the pagan and Judaic texts written on scrolls.
In addition, some metal books were made, that required smaller pages of metal, instead of an impossibly long, unbending scroll of metal.
A book can also be easily stored in more compact places, or side by side in a tight library or shelf space. Papyrus became difficult to obtain due to lack of contact with Egypt, and parchment, which had been used for centuries, became the main writing material.
Parchment is a material made from processed animal skin and used—mainly in the past—for writing on.
Parchment is most commonly made of calfskin, sheepskin, or goatskin. It was historically used for writing documents, notes, or the pages of a book.
Parchment is limed, scraped and dried under tension. It is not tanned, and is thus different from leather. This makes it more suitable for writing on, but leaves it very reactive to changes in relative humidity and makes it revert to rawhide if overly wet.
Monasteries carried on the Latin writing tradition in the Western Roman Empire. Cassiodorus , in the monastery of Vivarium established around , stressed the importance of copying texts.
Benedict of Nursia , in his Rule of Saint Benedict completed around the middle of the 6th century later also promoted reading.
XLVIII , which set aside certain times for reading, greatly influenced the monastic culture of the Middle Ages and is one of the reasons why the clergy were the predominant readers of books.
The tradition and style of the Roman Empire still dominated, but slowly the peculiar medieval book culture emerged.
Before the invention and adoption of the printing press , almost all books were copied by hand, which made books expensive and comparatively rare.
Smaller monasteries usually had only a few dozen books, medium-sized perhaps a few hundred. By the 9th century, larger collections held around volumes and even at the end of the Middle Ages, the papal library in Avignon and Paris library of the Sorbonne held only around 2, volumes.
The scriptorium of the monastery was usually located over the chapter house. Artificial light was forbidden for fear it may damage the manuscripts.
There were five types of scribes:. The bookmaking process was long and laborious. The parchment had to be prepared, then the unbound pages were planned and ruled with a blunt tool or lead, after which the text was written by the scribe , who usually left blank areas for illustration and rubrication.
Finally, the book was bound by the bookbinder. Different types of ink were known in antiquity, usually prepared from soot and gum, and later also from gall nuts and iron vitriol.
This gave writing a brownish black color, but black or brown were not the only colors used. There are texts written in red or even gold, and different colors were used for illumination.
For very luxurious manuscripts the whole parchment was colored purple , and the text was written on it with gold or silver for example, Codex Argenteus.
Irish monks introduced spacing between words in the 7th century. This facilitated reading, as these monks tended to be less familiar with Latin.
However, the use of spaces between words did not become commonplace before the 12th century. It has been argued that the use of spacing between words shows the transition from semi-vocalized reading into silent reading.
The first books used parchment or vellum calfskin for the pages. The book covers were made of wood and covered with leather.
Because dried parchment tends to assume the form it had before processing, the books were fitted with clasps or straps. During the later Middle Ages , when public libraries appeared, up to the 18th century, books were often chained to a bookshelf or a desk to prevent theft.
These chained books are called libri catenati. At first, books were copied mostly in monasteries, one at a time. With the rise of universities in the 13th century, the Manuscript culture of the time led to an increase in the demand for books, and a new system for copying books appeared.
The books were divided into unbound leaves pecia , which were lent out to different copyists, so the speed of book production was considerably increased.
The system was maintained by secular stationers guilds, which produced both religious and non-religious material.
Judaism has kept the art of the scribe alive up to the present. According to Jewish tradition, the Torah scroll placed in a synagogue must be written by hand on parchment and a printed book would not do, though the congregation may use printed prayer books and printed copies of the Scriptures are used for study outside the synagogue.
A sofer "scribe" is a highly respected member of any observant Jewish community. A number of cities in the medieval Islamic world had book production centers and book markets.
Yaqubi d. The medieval Muslim world also used a method of reproducing reliable copies of a book in large quantities known as check reading , in contrast to the traditional method of a single scribe producing only a single copy of a single manuscript.
In the check reading method, only "authors could authorize copies, and this was done in public sessions in which the copyist read the copy aloud in the presence of the author, who then certified it as accurate.
In woodblock printing , a relief image of an entire page was carved into blocks of wood, inked, and used to print copies of that page. This method originated in China, in the Han dynasty before AD , as a method of printing on textiles and later paper , and was widely used throughout East Asia.
The method called woodcut when used in art arrived in Europe in the early 14th century. Books known as block-books , as well as playing-cards and religious pictures , began to be produced by this method.
Creating an entire book was a painstaking process, requiring a hand-carved block for each page; and the wood blocks tended to crack, if stored for long.
The monks or people who wrote them were paid highly. The Chinese inventor Bi Sheng made movable type of earthenware c. Around , in what is commonly regarded as an independent invention, Johannes Gutenberg invented movable type in Europe, along with innovations in casting the type based on a matrix and hand mould.
This invention gradually made books less expensive to produce, and more widely available. Early printed books, single sheets and images which were created before in Europe are known as incunables or incunabula.
Steam-powered printing presses became popular in the early 19th century. These machines could print 1, sheets per hour,  but workers could only set 2, letters per hour.
They could set more than 6, letters per hour and an entire line of type at once. There have been numerous improvements in the printing press.
As well, the conditions for freedom of the press have been improved through the gradual relaxation of restrictive censorship laws.
See also intellectual property , public domain , copyright. In midth century, European book production had risen to over , titles per year.
Throughout the 20th century, libraries have faced an ever-increasing rate of publishing, sometimes called an information explosion. The advent of electronic publishing and the internet means that much new information is not printed in paper books, but is made available online through a digital library , on CD-ROM , in the form of e-books or other online media.
An on-line book is an e-book that is available online through the internet. Though many books are produced digitally, most digital versions are not available to the public, and there is no decline in the rate of paper publishing.
This effort is spearheaded by Project Gutenberg combined with Distributed Proofreaders. There have also been new developments in the process of publishing books.
Technologies such as POD or " print on demand ", which make it possible to print as few as one book at a time, have made self-publishing and vanity publishing much easier and more affordable.
On-demand publishing has allowed publishers, by avoiding the high costs of warehousing, to keep low-selling books in print rather than declaring them out of print.
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Esther at Her Toilet , oil on canvas by Aert de Gelder, c. On the hand lying upon the book there fell a bright sunbeam.
The Book of Jonah was written directly in rebuke of one form of Jewish exclusiveness. See also e-book def. Stock Exchange.
A protagonist is the main character of a story, or the lead. Idioms for book bring to book , to call to account; bring to justice: Someday he will be brought to book for his misdeeds.
Keep scrolling for more. Examples of book in a Sentence Noun The shelves in his office are filled with books.
First Known Use of book Noun before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a Adjective 13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1 Verb , in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a.
Learn More about book. Time Traveler for book The first known use of book was before the 12th century See more words from the same century.
From the Editors at Merriam-Webster. Book Anatomy Words: Quire, Colophon, More Definitions for book. Comments on book What made you want to look up book?
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