We take so much for granted today about printed books. The wisdom of the ages can be captured and preserved for costs that are so low as to almost negligible. Save for the surfeit of information that currently exists, the modern man has no excuse not to be reasonably acquainted with his heritage.
It was not always so. Before the advent of the printing press, books circulated in manuscript form. They had to be copied by hand, and this was laborious and costly. In the ancient world, manuscript books were relatively cheap and plentiful; but papyrus became unavailable from Egypt during the Middle Ages, leaving expensive vellum as the only available medium for “mass” writing.