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Bookshelves

Today, we live in an era of unprecedented free flow of information–so much information, in fact, that it is humanly impossible to keep up with everything that’s going on in our world, not to mention have time to sit down and read a good book. But make no mistake, as even in this age of the Internet and computer technology, books are still often the preferred way of expressing ideas, as they have been for thousands of years. They are certainly considered more elegant and traditional than looking up something online.

This website is your guide to the history of books and bookcases, for what better way to store these precious intellectual marvels than on an elegant and practical bookshelf? The history of books and bookshelves, alternatively known as bookcases, has been long, rich and diverse, and it has been inextricably linked to the intellectual, scientific, technological and cultural developments of our great civilizations, since at least Antiquity. Books have been written on virtually everything that man has thought up, and they have seen many forms, methods of writing, transcribing, printing and publishing. There are ancient manuscripts, very different in appearance and form from what we know today as “books,” but at least equally–if not more–important and valuable as much of the literature printed with today’s modern technology. There is fiction and non-fiction, dozens of book genres and subgenres, political treatises, philosophical books, scientific books, fun novels and entertaining short stories, and everything in-between.

Bookshelves have also evolved, from simple shelves and cupboards, to grand, beautiful and elegantly carved, generally wooden bookshelves found in the homes of the wealthy and the powerful (the most precious ones traditionally made of oak). With a few books, the idea of keeping them on a bookshelf is simple enough, but especially in the case of libraries, or extensive book collections, it was also necessary to devise a method of organizing books according to various criteria–you can learn more about some of the most famous and widely-used practical methods for organizing books on this site, as well.