As a travel provider focused on education, we love to celebrate books! Books are a fundamental building block for learning, creating understanding, and exploring our world and worlds from our imaginations. We hope these fun and interesting facts about books inspire you to celebrate Book Week this year!
The Oldest Book
Diamond Sutra is a Sanskrit text that dates back to 686 A.D. It’s known as the first creative work to be provided to the public domain, ending with “for universal free distribution.”
The Book with the Most Copies Sold
While it’s difficult to report on every book ever sold, the Bible is touted as having more than five billion copies printed and distributed. Don Quixote is recognised as the most distributed fiction book, but again, the numbers aren’t there to support the claim. The top verified book is A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, with over 200 million copies sold.
And just in case you’re wondering where Harry Potter fits in… the entire series has sold over 500 million copies combined!
The Longest Book
Depending on how you measure the volume (the most widely accepted is word count), the answer for this one can vary. Divta, a 33-year-long suspense series, is considered the longest book by word count with 11,206,310 words and 8,128 pages. Venmurasu, based on a Sanskrit epic that takes place in India, is only approximately 3,640,000 words, however, it has 22,400 pages!
The Longest Sentence
Victor Hugo is credited with writing the longest sentence in his novel, Les Miserables. At 823 words, we can’t say it’s a run-on, but it sure is lengthy!
The Biggest Book
That brings us to the physically LARGEST book in the world: This the Prophet Muhamad. Located in Dubai, the book measures 16.40 feet by 26.44 feet and weighs approximately 3,306 pounds.
The Smallest Book
The smallest book in the world, Teeny Ted from Turnip Town, measures only 0.07mm x 0.10mm. The 30 micro tablets that the text is etched onto can only be read with a scanning electron microscope. The first edition produced only 100 copies, but a library edition was produced in 2012 that was considered the large print version of the book.
The Most Expensive Book
The most expensive book ever sold was the Codex Leicester, which is Leonardo di Vinci’s science diary. It sold for $30.8 million in 1994, which would be $53.5 million today!
The Largest Bookstore
The record for the largest bookstore, based on square footage, is the Barnes & Noble on 5th Avenue in New York City. But, to give credit where credit is due, Powell’s Bookstore in Portland, Oregon has long held the record for the largest bookstore based on shelf space.
The Oldest Bookstore
Located in Lisbon, Portugal, Livraria Bertrand has been operating since 1732. The Bertrand now operates 52 locations, but the location in Lisbon’s Chiado neighbourhood is the verified OB (Original Bookstore).
The Most (E)nigmatic Novel
In 1939, Ernest Vincent Wright wrote a story about Branton Hills, a fictional city in decline that was revitalised by the novel’s protagonist, John Gadsby. The most intriguing part of the book? The entire volume doesn’t use the letter ‘e’ (well, except for the author’s name). Known as a lipogram, this book was a writing feat that checks in at 50,000 words long.
The Most Popular Children’s Book
With over 140 million hard copies sold worldwide, Le Petit Prince (The Little Prince) by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry is considered the most widely popular story for children. First published in 1943, it has been a favourite of many generations.
The Earliest Books
The earliest ‘books’ were written in the form of tablets of clay, scrolls, and sheets of papyrus. The earliest tablets, discovered in Mesopotamia, date back as far as 3,000 B.C. The first use of papyrus has been tracked to the First Dynasty of Egypt (about 2400 B.C.), where ‘paper’ was created using the marrow of papyrus reeds thinned into sheets that were pasted together to make scrolls more than 10 yards long.
Bonus: Make Your Own Paper! Papermaking is a great arts and crafts project to try in the classroom or at home. Even better, it’s an inexpensive project that can yield beautifully artistic results—and you can find almost all the materials already in your home. Check out this tutorial video.
The Most Prolific Author
The author with the most published books is L. Ron Hubbard with 1,084 works. His first written piece was published in 1934 and his last was published in 2006.
The Youngest Author
Dorothy Straight was only four years old when she wrote and illustrated How the World Began for her grandmother. It was officially published two years later.
The Oldest Author
The world’s oldest published author, Bertha Wood, was 100 when her memoirs Fresh Air and Fun: The Story of a Blackpool Holiday Camp was released. She began the book at age 90.
The First Published Aboriginal Australian Author
David Unaipon was the first Aboriginal author to be published in 1924. He was commissioned by the University of Adelaide to assemble a book on Aboriginal legends. He also published three short booklets of Aboriginal stories in 1927, 1928 and 1929.
The Bestselling Author
The bestselling author of all time is a tie between William Shakespeare and Agatha Christie. Both are estimated to have sold a minimum of $2 billion each. Agatha wrote 42 books; William wrote 85 in his lifetime.
Some Bookish Words
Here are some fun words related to books that we can’t help but share!
- Bibliosmia is the love of the smell of books. That’s something an e-reader can’t give you.
- Bibliophobia is the fear of books, which can include reading a certain kind of book, reading out loud in public, or even just holding a book. Yikes.
- Bibliophilia or bibliophilism is the love of books. If you have bibliophilia, you’re known as a bibliophile. And if you’re a bibliophile to the extreme, you might suffer from abibliophilia, the fear of running out of something to read.
The Health Benefits of Reading
Besides being a great source of entertainment and education, reading can provide some very powerful health boosts:
- If you read regularly, you’re two and a half times less likely to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or dementia.
- If you’re a fiction lover, you’re more likely be empathetic to others.
- Reading has been found to reduce stress up to 68%, outranking even listening to music (which came in at 61%).
- A study has also found that reading at least 30 minutes a day can increase your lifespan. So, grab that book and improve your health and wellness!