When one talks about books, one only means in part the parallelepipedal object, which one can take in the hand and browse through. In addition, the contents and the text and the images between the book covers are also meant.
For the reason, it makes sense to call the approximately 5,000-year-old clay tablets from the Near East or the 4000 years old described papyrus scrolls from the Egyptian Empire as books, although they looked completely different from our books today.
The book form we know can be traced back to the distribution of the parchment. Parchment is dried animal skin, which was used around 300 BC for the first time by the Greeks as a material for labeling. From the time of the birth of Christ, the papyrus and parchment leaves were cut and bound in book form.
The paper became known in Europe only in the middle ages in the 13th century, although the Chinese had discovered it a thousand years before. In the Middle Ages the monks developed a regular book style and decorated individual letters and pages with magnificent pictures, the so-called illuminations. When Johannes Gutenberg invented the book printing with moving metal letters in the fifteenth century, and the books could no longer be copied by hand, but with printing machines, the hand-painted illuminations gradually disappeared. With the printing presses also the parchment disappeared and was replaced by the much cheaper paper.
Today, Five hundred years later, the paper has also received competition: the e-book. The electronic book is no longer a three-dimensional object, which can be taken into the hands and sensually experienced, but only available digitally. At the very latest, it becomes clear that what makes a book a book is less its material form and more its content.
Before a manuscript, that is the unpublished text, comes from the author to the reader, it must first go through the book trade to become the book. The book trade thus covers the whole range of book making and book selling. On book sales are essentially the publisher who produces the book, the printing company that prints the book, and finally the bookstore itself, which sold the book to the reader involved. Between the publisher and the bookstore, there is usually the area of the distribution of publishing houses or of the bars, which store books for the publisher in large halls and only send them when they are ordered by the bookshops.
Books that you can not buy anymore because they are no longer published by the publisher, Are called out-of-print books. If you’re lucky, you can find an out-of-print book in an antique bookshop. Because an antiquarian bookshop is a kind of second-hand bookstore that sells already read, often also old books.
Since the distribution of the Internet, there are several online bookshops that send the ordered books directly to the house. The chance to find already out-of-print books is particularly high in Internet bookshops or online antiques. The disadvantage with internet orders is, however, that you have to pay in addition to the book price usually still the shipping costs. In addition, Internet bookings displace the traditional bookshops.
The interests of the entire book trade, such as the preservation of copyright or book price binding, Are represented by the Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels in Frankfurt. The Börsenverein also awards literature prizes or organizes the big two book fairs in Frankfurt in autumn and Leipzig in spring.
A book is waiting to be read. As soon as the book is finished, the reader becomes, besides the author, the most important person in the book. The reader not only decides which book he reads, but also how he worries. He can either go to a library and borrow it for free, he can go to the bookshop and buy it there or order it, or he can order it on the Internet for some time.
The more books of a variety are bought by the reader, the more books of this kind are produced. For example, after many children bought the first Harry Potter books, a lot of fantasy books were published in the following years .
But the reader is important not only because of his sales behavior, but also because he determines how powerful a book can become. If, for example, he places the book on the shelf and forgets to read it after reading, the book will not have much effect. If the reader wants to try out ideas from a book, the book becomes a bit more powerful. And if many readers of the book want to translate their contents into reality, a book can become very powerful.
There have, therefore, been books that have triggered revolutions and overthrown religions. For the reason, there are always rulers who are afraid of books. From these rulers are banned books, which even appear to give people the courage to think differently and to criticize. At the time of the Inquisition in the Middle Ages or of National Socialism in the last century, books for deterrence were even burned to the public.
Reading, however, is mostly a purely private matter, an intense dialogue between the reader and the book. How powerful the book can affect itself is, luckily, usually decided by the reader himself.