Try to get through one day without using, seeing, or creating a printed product. It’s almost impossible in today’s world: the printed world is everywhere, and it enhances our lives in real and wonderful ways. Here are five fun facts about printing that you probably haven’t heard before.
1. You need a magnifying glass to read the world’s smallest book
The book that holds the Guinness Book of World Records’ trophy for the smallest book is a 22-page Japanese flower guide. Measuring in at only 0.0291 by 0.0295 inches, this book is a quick read—with the proper magnification.
2. This fiction phenomenon holds the record for highest initial fiction print run
Can you guess who holds the record? J.K. Rowling’s initial printing of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows had an initial print run of 12 million copies, breaking all previous records and remaining the standard today.
3. The oldest printing house is older than you think
A couple hundred years sounds like a reasonable amount of time for the oldest publishing house to have been around, right? Actually, Cambridge University Press holds the title of older publishing and printing house, and it was established with money from the notorious Henry VIII—that’s right, in the 1500s. That’s quite the tenure.
4. Discarded printer cartridges could circle the earth over three times
You read that right: the waste from printer cartridges, if lined up end-to-end, would go around the globe over three times. Add to that the sobering fact that printer cartridges don’t decompose for over 1,000 years, and you’ve got yourself a good reason to recycle.
5. Printed sushi exists—for a price
How about a lovely entree of fresh sushi prepared by a Canon i560 inkjet printer? Chef Homaro Cantu in Chicago used edible ink to create an experimental menu of printed food in 2005; a taste will set you back over $240.