How were books made before the printing press, did writer first write on each single paper and than bound all papers in book or they wrote directly in book? Books are wrote in cursive?

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    – Ben
    Commented Jan 12 at 17:00
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    Commented Jan 12 at 17:03

1 Answer 1


Most of the surviving books created before the printing press were written on individual pages then bound into a manuscript. Many were copied from scrolls, translating the knowledge of the ancient world into the lingua franca of the day.

Mostly, they used block lettering, but some used cursive. For instance, Davinci’s notebooks are cursive. Leonardo wrote on loose papers that were bound into notebooks after his death.

  • Da Vinci's notebooks were personal notes, weren't they? Cursive was generally used for personal stuff, letters and such, since the times of ancient Rome. By the way, Leonardo was born (only a handful of years, but still) after Guttenberg constructed his press using movable type, and lived all his life in a world where printed books were a thing already.
    – Divizna
    Commented Jan 12 at 16:04
  • @Divizna, yes, the Da Vinci's notebooks were his papers, presumably written backward to frustrate anyone trying to steal his ideas. I thought he predated Guttenberg. Thanks for sharing that observation.
    – EDL
    Commented Jan 12 at 20:04
  • Didn't predate Guttenberg, as I'm sure you've looked up too, it's Guttenberg's press - 1440 or so, Leonardo's life - 1452-1519. And I thought he wrote backwards simply because it was more comfortable for him that way when writing with left hand.
    – Divizna
    Commented Jan 13 at 1:34

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