Many, many years ago a town
cryer ran through the streets and shouted out all the news. But now we live in
the Atomic Age. Too many things happen too quickly for us to learn about them
in the old-fashioned way. That is why we have to read more and more in order td
find out what is happening in the world. Reading is rarely a waste of time.
Have you ever thought about
the kind of books people used long ago? It is only in the last 500 years that
books have been printed on paper. Before that time the only way of making books
was to write them out by hand. No one knows when writing first began, but we
have found drawings on the walls of caves and scratchings on bones which are at
least 25,000 years old.
The invention of paper played
a very important part in the development of books.
In the 11th century the art of
paper making reached Europe but no trace of printing was found in Europe until
1423. It is known that Johann Gutenberg secretly tried out ways of printing in
Strasbourg, Germany, in 1440.
The knowledge of the methods
of printing spread so quickly over the Continent of Europe that by the year
1487 nearly every country had started printing books.
Later people began to learn
how to make paper more quickly and cheaply and of better quality.
As a result of this, books
became much lighter and smaller.
The first person to print
books in the English language was William Caxton, in Russia — Ivan Fedorov.
The first book printed in the
Russian language appeared in Moscow on the first of March, 1564. Up to that
time there were only handwritten books in Russia. The house built for printing
books was not far from the Kremlin. At that time it was one of the best
buildings in the Russian capital.
Ivan Fedorov and his
assistants were the first to use Russian letters.
By the 16th century books
looked very much as they do today and since then very little change has been
made in their appearance.