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Interesting Facts - Books

The oldest known books in the world were made of clay. Actually earthen tablets on which written symbols were imprinted and baked, these "books" were used for recording land deeds and business transactions by the Babylonians five thousand years before movable type was invented in the West.

Johannes Gutenberg was not the first man to produce a book printed with movable type. Printed books were made in China five hundred years before their appearance in Europe. These books were set in movable type made with metal or porcelain characters, were printed on paper (which also was invented in China centuries before it reached the West), and were bound in a manner much like contemporary volumes, complete with title page and cover.

There are 10 million books in the Russian Public Library in Leningrad, enough to supply every man, woman, and child in the city with two free books. Remarkable as this may sound, however, the statistic is dwarfed by the book-count at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., which has 72,466,926 books on its shelves, or more than seventy two free volumes for every person in Washington.

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