From jacket flap:
This book tells the romantic and fascinating story of one of mankind’s greatest achievements – the printed book. Behind the production of the books of today there lies a long history of inventive and creative effort, the work of innumerable artists and craftsmen throughout centuries, from the far-off days when books were written, letter by letter and word by word, by the careful hands of skillful scribes.
The Book tells the story of how books came into being and of those earliest books that were written and illustrated by hand. It tells of the invention of printing and of how that invention made it possible for books to be produced so cheaply and in such quantities that all men might have them. It tells further of the development of bookmaking into an art and of the ceaseless effort of craftsmen and artists to produce the book that shall be perfect – the golden book.
No man was better qualified than Douglas C. McMurtrie to write of the age-long quest of the perfect book. Himself a well-known typographer and designer of books, he was also the author of a large number of authoritative books and articles on typography and typographic history. In 1927 he published The Golden Book in a handsome volume which went through four editions before it was allowed to go out of print, when its author undertook the extensive revision, and rewriting of its material for publication, in 1938, under the present title, The Book.