A. Hail to the Handmade Book!

What is a book?
 
A scroll might be called a book because it has words printed or written on it. But it doesn't have pages; it is long and rolled-up. Here is a scroll of the "Book of Esther" from the Old Testament of the Bible. It was made in the 8th century, A.D.
 
Photo courtesy of The Melbert R. Cary, Jr. Graphic Arts Collection
Type
A Scribe in His Study | National Book Month
A Scribe in His Study | National Book Month

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Did you ever wonder what the first books were like? European monks started making them many, many years ago in the Middle Ages. They did not have a printing press so each book was made by hand. The...
Page from the Book of Kells | National Book Month
Page from the Book of Kells | National Book Month

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Each book was special and took a long time to make. Sometimes a monk worked for a year or more on one book. Usually they were stories from the Bible, so the monks wanted them to be very beautiful...
13th Century Prayer Book | National Book Month
13th Century Prayer Book | National Book Month

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In this page from a 13th century prayer book the letter "P" changes into a man and the "E" is in a box, with flowers inside it. Photo courtesy of The Melbert R. Cary, Jr. Graphic Arts Collection
14th Century Prayer Book - National Book Month
14th Century Prayer Book - National Book Month

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This is a page from a prayer book made in England in the 14th century. Can you see how the big letter "S" has an ivy vine growing all around it? Photo courtesy of The Melbert R. Cary, Jr. Graphic Arts...
14th Century Hymnal | National Book Month
14th Century Hymnal | National Book Month

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This hymnal from the 14th century has a "B" with a long tail. What else do you notice about the "B"? Photo courtesy of The Melbert R. Cary, Jr. Graphic Arts Collection
Medieval Book Cover | National Book Month
Medieval Book Cover | National Book Month

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Handmade books were expensive and only very rich people could afford to buy them. Because it took so long to make one book, only a few books existed. There were no bookstores and the biggest library...
Johannes Gutenberg | National Book Month
Johannes Gutenberg | National Book Month

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In the middle of the 15th century, a German man named Johannes Gutenberg invented a printing press. Also, Europeans learned how to print books on paper. These two inventions made it easier to create...
An Early Printing Press | National Book Month
An Early Printing Press | National Book Month

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Printed books were much cheaper to make, so many more people bought books and learned to read. The ideas written in books spread quickly across Europe. The world was never the same once lots of people...