The 16th-century book that can be read in six different ways

by Cristian I

The OLD book

This Book Is the Ultimate Choose Your Own Adventure Novel

When was the last time you read a Choose Your Own Adventure novel?

If you’ve never had the experience, the story is somewhat unique.

You’ll start the book as you would with any other.

Eventually, you’ll reach a pausing point in the narrative.

The story tells you to make a choice.

You’ll navigate to a specific page to continue the tale based on what you decided.

That means several potential endings are possible in these novels.

It’s a lot of fun to go through each choice’s potential to see the various outcomes.

The National Library of Sweden has a much older form of this concept.

Printed in the late 1500s, a small book with six separate bindings allows you to read up to six different narratives in the conjoined design.

Medieval Book
Medieval Book – Credit erikkwakkel

How Can You Get Six Books into One Printing?

Before modern printing methods were available to everyone, the most economical way to have books at home was to get as many as possible into a single binding.

A book was a luxury item.

Many of them were religious texts at the time, and the example from the National Library of Sweden is no exception.

The way it works involves a series of clasps on the cover.

Depending on how you unlock the book, you’ll get to read specific pages.

It was printed in Germany, serving as an excellent example of early craftsmanship, printing, and binding.

The latest devotional in the six-book printing is from the 1570s.

It includes Der kleine Catechismus from Martin Luther, making it a priceless relic from hundreds of years ago.

Having six titles in one is quite the rarity, especially when it is this old.

The dos-a-dos binding technique was usually reserved for two titles only, allowing readers to go from front to back, and then back to front.

Although it isn’t quite the same concept as a Choose Your Own Adventure novel, you can decide what spiritual journey you want to start with this unique book.

You can find more information about this story and other Medieval books by visiting the Tumblr blog of historian Erik Kwakkel at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.

Photo credits: National Library of Sweden



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