In ancient China, words were printed by cutting the symbols in blocks of wood. The Chinese later invented movable type, a process in which letters are made separately and assembled to form words. However, successful printing with movable metal type (letters) in Europe was not invented until the 15th century. The man usually called the inventor of printing was Johannes Gutenberg (c. 1398-1468), a goldsmith from Mainz in Germany. Before that, all copies of a book had to be written by hand, often by monks. Printing made books far cheaper and easier to obtain because copies could be produced quickly.