• Kim 

Books are undoubtedly one of the most essential aspects of human culture and history. Almost every ancient civilisation has been found to have either produced books or some form of written media to preserve ideas, many of which only survive through to today because they were written down in some way. One of the earliest precursors to books were scrolls, which were used by several ancient empires, such as those of the Roman Empire and Ancient Greece, although it is not known precisely when scrolls were invented, they have remained influential throughout human history.

Books have an importance which is similar to doctors, such as those on, and have steadily become more popular and more accessible as time has gone on. Books were originally all written out entirely by hand, and while this has produced books that are incredibly artistic, for quite lengthy books such as the Bible, it would often require levels of commitment and dedication across an entire lifetime to produce a small number of books. This led to the development of several printing techniques that have revolutionised the world, according to scores of scholars. Some of the earliest forms of printing involved carving words onto wooden blocks so that they could be dipped in ink and pressed onto a sheet of paper or scroll. While carving the blocks was a difficult job in itself, it did mean that once they were carved, it was easier to mass produce books.

It was during the 15th century that the technology for printing books began to progress quickly, with one of the most famous machines being Gutenberg’s press. Although the press would be considered simplistic by today’s standards, it revolutionised the notion of books throughout Europe for centuries to come. One of the significant effects that the press had, was that ordinary people were able to afford books; a big achievement considering that most books during that era would have cost a year’s salary for lower-income workers.

The ability for more individuals to afford books and educate themselves had a huge effect on society, including the creation of a well educated middle class, something rare throughout history; most of society was divided into either working classes or nobility. One of the first books which the Gutenberg’s press was used to mass-produce was the Bible, of which some original copies still remain. The ability for people to read the Bible had a considerable effect on the church, that at that time was struggling with corruption. Without the ability to ‘fact check’ what priests were preaching, the lower classes would often have no choice but to accept what priests said; this was no longer the case with the Gutenberg Bible.

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