Oddly enough, the first book appeared in Mesopotamia. This was significant for humanity event no less than five thousand years ago. Nothing to do with modern books they didn't have a simple clay tablets, on which the pointed sticks inflicted signs Babylonian cuneiform.
Records were mostly domestic in nature, but have survived and a variety of myths, legends and descriptions of historical events. Generally clay - thing unreliable. And before after accidental fire was discovered the amazing preservation of recordings, on the same plate you had to write several times, erasing the previous one. Each book consisted of tens or even hundreds of clay "pages", Packed in a wooden box - the oldest book binding.
Surviving clay tablets - all that remained of a once truly great library of the Assyrian king Ashurbanipal (669-633, BC), which kept tens of thousands of books on various branches of knowledge.
About the culture of Ancient Egypt anything today know almost everything. And probably ever heard of that in this country for many centuries for the letters used papyrus. Papyrus - a relative of our sedge - grow in abundance along the banks of the Nile. Its stems are cut into strips, dried, and glued, and to impart smoothness smooth stone.
Ink then and there was no trace, but inventive ancient Egyptians used paint plant origin, and wrote thin reed. By the way, in Egypt, the paint began to pour into a hollow reed, creating first the quill.
To papyrus book was more convenient to use, one end of the tape attached to the wand and wound scroll to it. As the covers were used round wooden or leather cases, which were kept in the papyrus scrolls.
The experience of foreign colleagues
Books, of course, wrote not only in Egypt. In India, for example, wrote on palm leaves, which are then carefully sewed together and made into a wooden cover. Unfortunately due to fires and climatic conditions of any ancient Indian books not reached us. In Europe, books were made of parchment. It is not that other, as specially treated leather. In China before the invention of writing paper used plates made from the stalks of bamboo. There are also partially confirmed the hypothesis that in China "wrote" in a special way tied knots, but this way is a separate story. Actually, the Creator of the paper considers a certain man named Cai LUN, who lived in China around 105 ad.. a Few centuries the secret of making paper was the most guarded state secret China.
Among the first who created the paper as close as possible to what we know now, were Arabs. As the material they used the washed wool. Separate sheets of paper glued getting scrolls up to 50 meters. In Russia books (handwritten) appeared after the creation of the Slavic alphabet Cyril and Methodius and the adoption of Christianity.
From the pen to the machine
The printing press was invented twice: in China and medieval Europe. In China, the printing press was invented, according to one, in 581 ad, and according to Chinese sources - between 936 and 993, the First precisely dated printed text is a Chinese woodblock copy of the Buddhist Diamond Sutra, printed in 868 year.
In Europe the father of printing is John Gutenberg created the first printing press and invented an artificial script, about 1440. The first printed books, they are sometimes referred to as incunabula, were very similar to handwriting. With a large number of prints, a stylized font and rich skins. They cost about as expensive as handwritten, because the process of creating these books was extremely time consuming.
During the second half of the 15th century printing press spread throughout Europe. In 1465, the first printing workshop in Italy in 1468, in Switzerland. In 1470 in France, three years in Belgium and Hungary, about the same time in Poland. In 1476 printing machines appeared in the Czech Republic and England, and in 1482 in Austria and Denmark, a year later in Sweden, in 1487 in Portugal. A rich print market. With him there is contention publishing brands. The most famous at the time of publishing the trademark was considered a mark belonging to the Venetian humanist of the Alda the Manutsija (OC-1515). They published the works of ancient authors, Aristotle, Plato, Demosthenes, Plutarch, Thucydides and Herodotus.
Gradually, the printing of books was improved and their cost has dropped significantly, including through the dissemination of the paper. Today, books are not only digitize and create alternatives to traditional paper format: electronic books or readers. Perhaps in the future private library will become a rarity. And what format they prefer reading people today?