Fun book facts


Since its Friday, I thought it would be appropriate to share some fun book facts with you to get you into your weekend reading vibe.

So here we go ….


Here is why your TBR list will never end

An estimated 755,755 new books are published every year.  As of mid-2017, there are an estimated 134,399,411 total published books in the world. Now you tell me how we can possibly read all these books?


First book ever recorded

The Tale of Genji was the first book ever recorded in the 11th century.

It is a classic work of Japanese literature written by the noblewoman and lady-in-waiting Murasaki Shikibu. The original manuscript no longer exists. It was made of several sheets of paper pasted together and folded alternately in one direction then the other, around the peak of the Heian period. Almost none of the characters had names and were referred to by titles and honorifics because of Heian-era Japanese court etiquette.



Stone Tablets were before Electronic Tablets

Before paper or e-books, and tablets were invented, things were written down on stone tablets.

One of the earliest known poems recorded was a poem titled the Epic of Gilgamesh, from Ancient Mesopotamia. The whole poem was written on 12 tablets. Today, the Epic of Gilgamesh is available on a digital tablet or e-reader.



The most expensive book

The most expensive book in the world is a first edition of the Bay Psalm Book, first printed in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1640.  It was sold for $14,165,000 at a 2013 auction in New York.



There is a company that only exists to distribute one book

Gideons International, founded in 1899 exists for the sole purpose of distributing bibles.  I’m sure you’ve come across their bibles in hotel rooms all over the world. As of 2015, Gideons International has distributed over 2 billion bibles and is estimated to distribute more than 2 bibles a second (that’s more than 7,200 an hour). This has resulted in The Bible being the bestselling and most read book in the world. Other interesting facts about the Gideons bible was that it was popular with rock musicians. It’s been mentioned in songs by The Beatles (Rocky Raccoon), Jethro Tull (Locomotive Breath), Elton John (Jimmie Rodgers’ Dream) and even Bing Crosby (Bye Bye Baby)



Your fetish to smell books has a name

Did you know that the act of smelling books is called “bibliosmia”, it’s actually pretty common, and one of the reasons most people today still prefer to read a paper book rather than an e-book.

The chemical reason you get an ‘old book smell’

“Old book smell” is produced by the breakdown of two chemical components in paper, cellulose and lignin.  The by-products of this process are toluene and ethylbenzene (which produce a sweet odour), vanillin (which produces a vanilla odour), benzaldehyde and furfural (which produce an almond odour), and 2-ethylhexanol which produces a flowery odour. Much like with carbon-dating, scientists can analyse the chemicals responsible for “old book smell” to determine the age of a book.  The process is called “material degradomics”.



The largest retail bookstore

Powell’s City of Books (founded by Walter Powell) takes up a whole city block in Portland, Oregon.  The megastore has about 1.6 acres (68,000 square feet) of retail floor space.

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Taryn Leigh

Taryn Leigh is the Author of Perfect Imperfections, which is currently available from AmazonWaterstonesBarnes&Noble, Exclusive Books and where all good books are sold.

To read more on these and other facts, visit the article where I first read up on them here

Published by Taryn Leigh

Taryn Leigh is the Author of Perfect Imperfections, which is available worldwide. She lives in South Africa with her Husband, Son and two Cocker Spaniels.

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