A very nice consideration of the early book!


There were only a few commodities more expensive to buy than a book in the medieval period. You could buy a horse or a mail coat for more than what you’d spend on an average bound book, but not much else. Buying an education was even more costly. In the 14th century, a year spent in a monastery school in England cost as much as buying a cottage. A degree at Oxford was one of the most costly things you could buy in late-medieval England outside real estate, political or ecclesiastical offices or military services.

Medieval books were wildly expensive to make, required time and were extremely valuable. Making a book was closer to the work of a jeweller than to that of an intellectual.

Medieval books were made from scratch. Ink was made from scratch. Parchment was made from scratch. Pens were made from scratch. Bindings were made from…

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