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Book

books paper century sheets

Book, medium of communication consisting of written, printed, or blank sheets of a material, usually paper, bound together into a volume. Ancient Assyrian and Babylonian clay tablets, incised when wet, then baked until hard, are the earliest form of books. The Egyptians further developed books by changing their materials. From papyrus they made paper, which they inscribed with reed pens and ink. The ancient world adopted the Egyptian innovations, and portable rolls of sheets joined together to form scrolls were at one time the most common form of books. But animal skins were also used and eventually led to a new form. Sheets of animal skin were much stronger than papyrus; they could be sewn together and folded to form rectangular pages. Pressed tightly between wooden boards to make up a book or “codex,” these were prototypes of modern books. The Chinese discovered the art of making paper in the 2nd century. Paper reached Europe in the 12th century, and by the 15th century it had almost entirely replaced all kinds of parchment in the making of books. Then, around 1436 or 1437, Johann Gutenberg of Mainz perfected movable type and produced the first mechanically printed books. The history of books since the 15th century is the story of innovations and advances in materials, techniques, and technology, which continues with today's computerized type setting, automated presses, and a wide variety of photographic and other reproduction processes.

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