A book is a set of written, printed, or blank pages fastened along one side and encased between protective covers. A single sheet within a book is called a leaf, and each side of a leaf is called a page. In the Han dynasty (before 220AD), a method for printing the book was discovered in China
which was woodblock printing. In woodblock printing, a relief image of an entire page was carved into blocks of wood, inked, and used to print copies of that page.
The oldest dated book printed by this method is the Diamond Sutra(868 AD). The Diamond Sutra also know as Vajracchedika Prajnaparamita Sutra in Sanskrit is a Buddhist sutra from the Prajnaparamita and emphasizes the practice of non-abiding and non-attachment. The Diamond Sutra is a key object of devotion in Zen buddhism and is one of the most influential Mahayana sutras. The Diamond Sutra has also been highly regarded in a number of Asian countries where Mahayana Buddhism has been traditionally practiced. The Sanskrit title for the sutra may be roughly translated as "Vajra Cutter Perfection of Wisdom Sutra". The Diamond Sutra relies on the power of thunderbolt to cut thing which can metaphorically used as a type of wisdom that shatters illusions to get to ultimate reality.
The Diamond Sutra contains the discourse of the Buddha to a senior monk, Subhuti. Its major themes are anatman, the emptiness of all phenomena, the liberation of all beings without attachment and the importance of spreading and teaching the Diamond sutra itself. Hsing Yun describes the four main points from the sutra as giving without attachment to self, liberating beings without notions of self and other, living without attachment, and cultivating without attainment. The Buddha repeats, throughout the teaching, that successful memorization and elucidation of even a four-line extract of it is of incalculable merit
A 15th century incunabulum.
After the invention of this method, many other things used this method like playing-cards and religious pictures.
Early printed books, single sheets and images which were created before 1501 in Europe are known as incunabula. Steam-powered printing presses became popular in the early 19th century. These machines could print 1,100 sheets per hour, but workers could only set 2,000 letters per hour. Modern paper books are printed on papers which are designed specifically for the publication of printed books. Today, the majority of books are printed by offset lithography in which an image of the material to be printed is photographically or digitally transferred to a flexible metal plate where it is developed to exploit the antipathy between grease (the ink) and water.
A book produced in electronic format is known as an electronic book (e-book).