If you love books, you probably love learning something new about books as well. There are plenty of book facts that everyone knows. But here is more: meet ten interesting facts about books that will amaze you! To be honest, we’ve never imagined some of them could be true. Yet, they are another reason to love books.
The First eBook Is 50 Years Old
If you still think eBooks have only been around for a decade, you are mistaken. Actually, the first eBook—The Declaration of Independence—was first loaded onto the computer network of the University of Illinois as part of Project Gutenburg in 1971. Surely, it definitely didn’t look like the modern eBook you probably have in mind. However, since Project Gutenburg was started that year with the goal to collect and digitize literary works and make them accessible to everyone, in a way, it was the first ever eBook in history. And yes, it’s been 50 years since then!
Librarians Used to Have a Special Handwriting Style
Did you know that once librarians were taught a unique style of handwriting? It was developed in 1885 to ensure all catalogs were kept uniform and could be easily read. Designed by Thomas Alva Edison and based on his own handwriting, it was perfected so that librarians could write unusually fast but without loss of quality. Definitely a great idea at an age when everything was handwritten. The style even had a name—the “library hand.” Ah, if only doctors were taught to write so nicely, too…
An Average Novel Has between 50,000 and 120,000 Words
We usually evaluate the length of a book by the number of pages. However, have you ever thought about the number of words in an average book? You probably haven’t. Don’t worry; we’ve checked this information for you! A typical novel has between 50,000 and 120,000 words. Surely, there are longer and shorter books, but this range is what most writers stick to. Anything over 110,000 words is considered too long. For instance, J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy has over 175,000 words. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone has 76,944 words, and so on.
The Biggest and Heaviest Book in the World Weighs 3,306 Pounds
The biggest and heaviest book in the world is ta-da, This the Prophet Mohamed. The Guinness Book of World Records states that it weighs about 3,306 pounds, measures 16.40 ft x 26.44 ft., and has 429 pages. Not a booklet, huh? It compiles the stories about the lifetime achievements of Islam’s Prophet and took more than 50 people to see the light. Now you know what the heaviest book in the world is and can take a look at it yourself—it’s on display at Dubai Al Wahda Mall.
There Are Approximately 2.6 Million Libraries in the World
You’ve probably heard that there are more libraries in the U.S. than Macdonald’s stores. Yet do you know that there are more than 2.6 million libraries in the world? Impressive, isn’t it? According to the Library Map of the World, the U.S. has 110,450 libraries, India has 1.5 million libraries, and Spain has 25,255 libraries, for instance. How many libraries are there in your place, do you know?
The Harvard Library Contains Books Bound in Human Skin!
It’s no news that in the medieval period, the most common book covering material was leather—animal leather, to be precise. However, the Harvard Library contains several books bound in human skin! One of them is Des destinées de l’ame, which has been sitting in Harvard’s Houghton Library since the 1930s. While it may seem barbaric, binding books to human skin was quite common and even normal. Some people did it to honor the dead, for instance. The practice even had a name: anthropodermic bibliopegy.
Portuguese Library Biblioteca Joanina Hosts Bats
Apart from the usual cleaners that keep the library clean, Portuguese Library Biblioteca Joanina has another cleaning crew that keeps the population of book-eating insects at bay—bats. They hide behind the old bookcases and feed on the insects at night. This unusual pest control squad helps keep the beautiful 300-year-old building safe from natural damage. Don’t fret; bats don’t bother humans.
The M6 Road the UK Was Built on 2.5 Million Copies of Pulped Fiction
Here is one more fact in a long list of fun facts about reading and books: the M6 toll road utilizes 2.5 million copies of pulped Mills & Boon novels. Whoa. Just imagine all these copies; it’s a huge amount. Such an unusual sustainable construction solution was used to reduce noise and prevent the road from cracking (according to Tarmac).
There Exsists a Book that Purifies Water
Could you ever imagine a book that kills bacteria? There is one! The Drinkable Book is printed on filter paper that can kill waterborne bacteria. The book is a creation of the non-profit organization WATERisLIFE; its goal is to attract attention to sanitation and hygiene issues. The book is unique, with its pages coated with silver nanoparticles. They kill waterborne bacteria that cause such diseases as cholera, typhoid, and E. coli.
There Are “Human Libraries” in the World
The last book fact we want to share with you is about libraries. This time, about “human libraries.” If you’ve never heard the term before, it’s all right: it’s relatively new. The Human Library as an initiative started in Copenhagen in 2000. It “publishes people as open books,” and its goal is to provide access to people and their stories. You can check out people (just like books) you’re unlikely ever meet and talk to them. The majority of these “human books” are stigmatized people from the social groups we usually tend to avoid. The idea behind the project is that we shouldn’t judge the book by its cover. The project is active in more than 70 countries, and you can participate in it as well.