UNESCO has awarded Bangkok the World Book Capital City 2013. In recognition of this special honor, the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA), in collaboration with the Bangkok Reading Group, is reigniting pride in Thailand's literary heritage and instilling a strong and sustainable culture of reading among city residents. The theme selected for the Bangkok World Book Capital City 2013 is "Bangkok, Read for Life" - a phrase that captures the essence and importance of reading and reflects the combined efforts of the Thai government and city administration to inspire Thai citizens to use reading to improve their quality of life and build a resilient and peaceful society. The Bangkok World Book Capital 2013 has enormous potential to impact all of the country. As the capital city of Thailand, events in Bangkok influence the entire population. Moreover, successful reading promotion programs can eventually be replicated throughout the kingdom.
Thailand's capital city was founded in the eighteenth century after the fall of the old capital, Ayutthaya. The new capital, Thonburi, was established on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River where it had once been a small trading town known as Bangkok, originally developed following the arrival of the Portuguese in the fifteenth century. Later, a French mission built a fort there in the seventeenth century. In 1782, the new King of Siam, Rama I, founder of the present Chakri dynasty, built his palace and moved the administration to the east bank of the river. He gave the capital the new name Krung Thep, meaning "City of Angels". However, foreigners continued to refer to it as Bangkok. In the 1980s, Bangkok transformed itself into a global metropolis due to the Asian investment boom, and convinced multinational corporations to make the city their regional headquarters. Bangkok charmed visitors to visit and revisit. Since then, the city has had a major impact on regional finance and business, and an increasing influence on global politics, culture, fashion and entertainment. The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration is divided into 50 districts, each with its own registered residents. The Greater Bangkok area has a population of 15 million and is 1,562.2 sq km in size. It is a special administrative area with an elected governor and is the country's economic centre, where every bank's headquarters is located. Bangkok is also the seat of UN agencies and international organization, such as the Secretariat of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). Bangkok has been the perfect host for many events, and has won numerous awards and recognition. Since 2005, Travel + Leisure magazine has voted Bangkok one of the top cities for seven consecutive years, ranking it as the World's No. 1 city three times and Asia's No.1 city six times.
Thailand, formally Siam, was introduced to Western printing technology beginning in the seventeenth century during the reign of King Narai the Great of Ayutthaya, by a French priest, Louis Laneau. The first printing workshop was set up in Ayutthaya. Using a wood block, the workshop produced Christian teachings, Pali grammar, and an English dictionary. In 1662, King Narai set up another printshop in Lopburi's royal palace. In 1686, Chao Phraya Kosathipbodi (aka Kosa Pan), King Narai's envoy, travelled to the court of Louis XIV of France to learn more about French royal printing. In 1836, Dr. Dan Beach Bradley, an American missionary, known as the "Father of Thai Printing" set up the first commercial printshop. The first Thai-owned and operated printshop was founded by Prince Mongkut (later King Mongkut, Rama VI) while he was still in monkshood at Wat Bovorn Nivet. The prince also introduced lithography to Siam. During the reign of King Rama V,a Thai typewriter was invented. In 1892, the first paper mill was established. After WWII, the printing industry grew along with the population and the expansion of Thailand's economy.