World Books Day: From copying and writing books to Kindle and Audiobooks, how has technology changed the reading experience?

From copying manuscripts to the printing machine and Kindle, technology has changed our reading experience. Lets read about it on "World Books Day 2020".

Laxitha Mundhra
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World Book Day 2020

You are probably watching Ramayan in the lockdown era. Right now, Mahrishi Valmiki is writing down the Ramayan. You can see that he is writing it with a feather pen and ink dip on a wood paper. Other saints will later copy it down by hands. Today, we are using technologies to satisfy our book reading needs. It ranges from Playbooks to Kindle and we are enjoying every bit of it. So, on this World Books Day, let's talk about the technological developments that have made all this possible.


But first, why do we celebrate World Books Day?

World Books Day is also known as World Book and Copyright Day or the International Day of the Book.

The United Nations has honoured the death anniversary of the famous author Miguel de Cervantes. He was a Spanish author, widely known for his book Don Quixote. Coincidentally, it also marks the death anniversary of the world-famous author William Shakespeare and several other prominent writers.


In 1995, the UNESCO decided to mark this day as a memorial to all the great writers of the era. And since the, we have been celebrating this day.

History of Book Making

The very ancient history of books traces back to the Ramayan era. In some ancient sites, archaeologists did find some book. People would break down birch trunks into smaller pieces and sticks them up with plant glue or rice. They would later use feather pens to scribble on their notebooks. Many such manuscripts have been carbon-dated back to 224 AD. These may have looked like this:


Later, similar to the structure of stamps and seals today, Buddhist monks printed their books with the help of stencils. Today, it is popularly known as wood-printing and block-printing. It was widely famous in East Asia around 220 AD. Today, many still look at block printing as ancient art. Craftsmen use it print clothes rather than books.

Block Printing example

Many countries still use this technique as a medium of cryptography.

The Printing Press

In the year 1450, Johannes Gutenberg revolutionised the book printing industry. Many also consider this event as the beginning of the industrial revolution. The Bible was the first book to get printed with that technology.


The first printing press The first printing press

In the machine, he used a matrix and hand mould. These were like a screw-press. He used an oil-based ink on a soft and absorbent paper. He first created alphabet pieces on the tin, lead and copper which he later used to print alphabets on the paper.

Four hundred years later, Richard March used impressions-curved-around a cylinder to print. The words were printed on long continuous rolls of paper. They called it the rotary drum printing. William Bullock improved the design to form the technology that we have today.


Paper and e-Books used today

Today we have the printer technology that prints faster than our ancestors ever imagined. We have paperbacks, hard-binds, e-books in the form of pdf, e-pubs and documents and the very latest tech development, the audiobooks.

From hand copying, we have developed to printing a thousand books every hour. From reading out books to children, we now have apps that read to us. Instead of a physical library, we can carry over 1000 books in a small 2 GB memory card. Kindles have eased the way we read books. No more disturbing anyone by keeping the lights on.

We don't have to fear that we might lose a book or dog-ear the pages. Every book can be stored on the cloud, accessible anywhere. Audiobooks have made effortless reading possible, and e-pubs and pdf have made it cost-less to read any book today. There are apps like Anybooks and Wattpad, that allow us to try our hand at creative writing a fandom. It is also easy to discuss a book over the internet today. Forget the hassle of asking your friends if they have read a book, you can go on Goodreads, and there, you have all your reviews.

The world of books is beautiful. Technology has eased the way we read today, and with World Books Day we can thank the printers, engineers, developers and technicians who have made book reading phenomenal.

kindle audiobooks