EU shipping is temporarily suspended

Books: A Living History

Martyn Lyons


Headlines predict the death of the printed book, but this ambitious volume celebrates the enduring power of the most efficient and influential technologies ever invented


For more than two and a half thousand years, the book, in a wide range of forms, has been used to document, to educate and to entertain.

The eminent authority Martyn Lyons charts the worldwide evolution of the book through the centuries, from the cuneiform tablets of ancient Sumer through the development of moveable type and the emergence of the modern information revolution. Among the carefully selected illustrations in this tome are Mayan codices, Egyptian papyrus scrolls, medieval illuminated manuscripts, masterpieces of early printing from Gutenberg and Aldus Manutius, atlases from the great age of travel and exploration, primers and children’s books, dime novels and Japanese manga, and works of fiction ranging from Don Quixote to Level 26, the world’s first ‘digi-novel’, and beyond.

At a time when daily headlines widely predict the death of the printed book, this volume celebrates the book's enduring power and magic, whatever its future form may be.

Read More


'Admirably international in its scope … fascinating'

'Opulently illustrated … a feast for book lovers everywhere, this richly informative volume celebrates the enduring power of books throughout the ages and stakes its claim to a similar role in ages yet to come'
Good Book Guide

'The perfect book for bibliophiles … elegantly designed and produced'
The Oldie

Read More

Product Information

Book Details

Format: Paperback with flaps

Size: 25.4 x 19.2 cm

Extent: 224 pp

Illustrations: 266

Publication date: 29 July 2013

ISBN: 9780500291153

Contents List

Introduction: The Power and Magic of the Book • 1. Ancient and Medieval World • 2. The New Culture of Print • 3. Enlightenment and the Masses • 4. The Publisher Arrives • 5. Knowledge for All • Conclusion: The New Age of the Book

Related Topics