Books as we know them today first appeared in the Middle Ages. The papyrus scroll was the closest to the books. The papyrus leaves were glued one by one to the scroll. The parchment and velin replaced the papyrus in the mid-5th century. Parchment is a material made from goat or sheepskin. Velin is a calfskin material. Sheets of these materials printed on one page are then cut to be the same size. They are fastened with leather buckles at one end and tied into a book. Four pieces of velinabile were folded so that each made up two sheets. These pieces were then put together. Eight fused leaves were called “volumes”. The volume thus obtained was sent to the scribe who wrote the text on it. The scribe wrote page by page spreading sheets of the book thus made. Velin was thick enough to be written on either side. The next step was to send the printed pages to a bookbinder to make a book of them. The bookbinder stitched the rope. He was making wooden covers. He pulled the ends of the rope through holes drilled on small boards. So he linked the pages of the book with the book covers. He glued a larger piece of leather to the printed sections and wooden book covers. Over time, the connection has been perfected. New ways have been found to decorate and preserve the book better. Medieval books were mostly religious in character – the Bible, sermons, and other religious scriptures. Later, books in the legal sciences, medicine, natural sciences, chronicles and annals appeared. Most books from the Middle Ages were written in Latin.
World Book and Copyright Day is celebrated on April 23 each year as a symbolic date in world literature. On that day in 1616, Miguel de Cervantes, and William Shakespeare, died. The idea is based on the Catalan custom of gifting books and roses on St. George’s Day.
UNESCO, the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, celebrates World Book and Copyright Day with the help of numerous publishers, bookstores, teachers and communication professionals. UNESCO wants to encourage all persons especially young people to read. UNESCO also wants to promote publishing and intellectual property protection through copyright protection. The decision to commemorate World Book and Copyright Day was taken at the 1995 UNESCO General Conference in Paris.
UNESCO has other programs related to books and literature. In 1948, the organization began an ambitious translation program. One of the major components of this program is Index Translationum, an international translation bibliography that contains information from more than a hundred countries and provides insight into all the translation information of a work. In addition, every second year, UNESCO awards the Children and Youth Literature Award in the service of tolerance for works for young people that promote mutual understanding based on respect for other peoples and cultures.