Greg Goss (gossg) wrote,
Greg Goss

A friend was asking about my new eBook reader device, and I went on and on till her eyes glazed over.  I was going to send her an email with the rest of my eye-glaze, but decided I might want to send it to more than one person.  Then I was thinking of putting it onto my website, but that's a pain.  Musings should be published in my journal, so it makes the most sense to put it here.

In the beginning was the word and...  OK, we'll skip that generation.

Generation #0 of books - page
  • Size: 1 page
  • Medium:  Clay tablet or woven papyrus or strips of bamboo tied together or scraped sheepskin (vellum) or wax-coated wood.
  • Copying: Always hard (handwritten)
  • Date:  4000 BC to 500 BC
First generation of books - Scroll
  • Size:  up to 30 pages, maybe 50
  • Medium: Vellum?  Early paper?  Woven papyrus?  Silk?  Rolled for storage, and current section unrolled to read
  • Copying: Always hard (handwritten)
  • Date: 500 BC to 1200 AD?
  • Example:  Each "book" of the bible.  We think of "the book" as the whole bible, but that era thought of each scroll as a book.
Second generation of books --- Codex (official name for edge-bound book as we think of a "book")
  • 30 to 4000 pages
  • Medium: usually paper.  (mashed wood or linen, "screened" dry and "sized" with clay or starch to make it smoother.)
  • Copying:  Before Gutenberg, hard.  After Gutenberg, easy at time of printing, hard later.
Current generation of books -- Library.  People own a collection of books, in ever-easier to carry formats
  • a few to very many books
  • Medium:  flash RAM in e-readers; flash ram in smartphones; "cloud" storage in dropbox or publisher or elsewhere.
  • Copying:  trivial.  Indeed for "cloud" storage, copying becomes almost irrelevant.
Livejournal offered to let me continue writing this post when I went to make today's post.  I can't remember when I wrote it, but it talks about my "new" e-reader which I got early for my birthday in March of 2011. It was aimed at one of my tutoring students, so it couldn't have been after mid-April.  Does LJ keep saved draft postings forever?
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