This fascinating and lively book provides the first comprehensive discussion of the production, circulation, and use of books in early Christianity. It explores the extent of literacy in early Christian communities; the relation in the early church between oral tradition and written materials; the physical form of early Christian books; how books were produced, transcribed, published, duplicated, and disseminated; how Christian libraries were formed; who read the books, in what circumstances, and to what purposes.

"In this extremely well-written and thoroughly researched work, Gamble asks to what extent the early church used books, how were they produced, and for what audiences? ... An enormously instructive and provocative work on an original topic. I recommend it highly to anyone with an interest in Christian history and a taste for future-oriented speculation". -- Commonweal

"His study merits careful reading and continuing use because of its valuable collections, insightful comments, and thoroughness. In essence he has provided a 'companion to early Christian literature' which should be required reading". -- Robert M. Grant, Catholic Historical Review