Steve Robison wrote-
"Prior to the invention of movable metal type, books
were scribed (calligraphied) by hand, one at a time.
This was usually accomplished in church monasteries
by a few scholarly monks over long periods, sometimes
years, for just one copy.........."
A fun little story goes along with this-
A new monk arrives at the monastery. He is assigned to
help the other monks in copying the old texts by hand.
He notices, however, that they are copying from copies,
not the original manuscripts. So, the new monk goes to
the head monk to ask him about this. He points out that
if there were an error in the first copy, that error
would be continued in all of the other copies.
The head monk says, "We have been copying from the copies
for centuries, but you make a good point, my son." So, he
goes down into the cellar with one of the copies to check
it against the original. Hours go by and nobody sees him.
So, one of the monks goes downstairs to look for him. He
hears sobbing coming from the back of the cellar, and finds
the old monk leaning over one of the original books crying.
He asks the old monk what's wrong, and in a choked voice
comes the reply..."The word is 'celebrate.'"