The characters were carved out to make a wood-block printing plate, which was used to print the text.
Wood-block printing took a long time as a new block had to be carved for every page in a book. In the 9th century, printed books first appeared in quantities in Shu (modern Szechuan province) and could be purchased from private dealers.
Two color printing (black and red) was seen as early as 1340.
In the 1040's the printing technique was further advanced through the invention of movable type, by someone named Pi Sheng (died 1051).
The printed books included Confucian classics, Buddhist scriptures, dictionaries, mathematics and others. By 1000, paged books in the modern style had replaced scrolls.
Throughout the centuries both movable type and blocking printing existed side by side in China.
The Muslims knew about the technology but didn't use it.
By mid-15th century, a number of print masters in Europe were getting closer to perfecting movable metal type printing techniques, and one of them was Johannes Gutenberg, a former goldsmith and stone cutter from Mainz, Germany.
Gutenberg created an alloy that was made up of tin, lead, and antinomy.