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Iliustration 16 March 2023

The First Printed Books Are Now Available Online

The Martynas Mažvydas National Library of Lithuania has digitized and made available online 75 out of 91 currently known incunabula housed at the National Library. The publications can be found in  a digital freely accessible collection of the first printed books on It is in the Public Domain.

Incunabula (in Latin incunabula means cradle) are the books printed before December 31, 1500. They played an important role in the development of modern printing technology and in the dissemination of knowledge and ideas throughout Europe. The introduction of the movable type in the 15th century revolutionized the world of books, transforming social life by making the book more easily accessible to an even broader group of people.

The digital collection enables all those interested in the old printed documentary heritage to have free and unrestricted access to this important historical resource. The collection consists of religious, historical and scientific works and treatises by a wide range of authors from Antiquity, the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. The various stamps of the former book owners reveal the journeys of the books from the 15th century to the present day.

We are delighted to make the incunabula available to the public and hope that this digital collection will inspire new research and help preserve these important documents for future generations.

The digitization of the incunabula is a significant achievement in the preservation and dissemination of cultural heritage.

Explore the collection and discover the stories behind the first printed books: