Block of the Week: Bookshelf

What ancient learning lies within these clever-clog blocks?

Bookshelves are expensive things to create. But you can’t put a price on wisdom, can you? Besides which, in Minecraft at least, they add a bit of colour to a room and enhance the power of nearby enchanting tables!

They are mighty hungry for resources, though: each bookshelf block consists of six wooden plank blocks and three books (each of which requires three sheets of paper and a leather hide).

Sure, once created, those three books have transformed into a veritable library which textures four faces of your bookshelf. But to really build out your collection, you’ll need to invest in an entire farmstead dedicated to cultivating cattle for the leather and sugar cane for the paper. Best build it near a forest, too, for all that wood you’ll need.

Here's how to bind a book together:

And here's how to bash a bookshelf into being:

Quite an outlay! No wonder that, for so much of human history, books were considered a sign of great wealth. Prior to the invention and popularisation of the printing press five hundred-ish years ago, each book had to be written by hand, too, making them even rarer and more valuable!

Europeans didn’t even have paper until the middle-ages: paper was invented by the Chinese around 200 BC, but it took a long time for the invention to filter through the great Arabic civilisations and over to Europe. About 1400 years, in fact. We’re slow learners, I guess. Instead, us Euros wrote on vellum - a term which usually refers to the specially prepared skin of calves, but sheep, goats and sometimes even cats were used.

Minecraft opts to use paper for the bulk of its pulp, so at least your ocelot can rest easy!

Want a guide to every block? Check out the Blockopedia! Every cube catalogued!