Printed materials have long been an effective means of communicating. Clay tablets dating as far back as pre-historic Mesopotamia, some 9000 years ago, www guru dissertation net contain information such as laws, business transactions, and literature. (Harry Ransom Center The University of Texas at Austin) We continue to record such data today, and likely will well into the future. But never again on bulky clay tablets.
The first printing methods, though remarkably easier to use than a chisel and stone, still involved the slow tedious process of hand writing text and illustrations. These works of papyrus scrolls and animal skins were easier to produce and transport making the products more widely available; this lead to more varied subject matter to be exchanged through writing. Greek and Egyptian papyri include information about public and domestic life including religious texts, wills, and personal correspondence. Unfortunately papyrus and animal skins degrade leaving only fragments of the original work so much of information shared through them has been completely lost.
During the 15th century, a device called the Gutenberg press alleviated the labor, expense, and inherent inaccuracies associated with hand copying. This development allowed faster creation of more accurate texts than was possible with handwritten manuscripts, forever changing the landscape of modern communication. Before large-scale use of the Gutenberg press books were mostly available to religious and government elite; readers tended to work laboriously through a small number of texts, especially the Bible, over and over again. (Darnton, Robert) Afterwards, with printed materials desacralized and cheaper to produce, the works were easily distributed as was the information contained within them. Gutenberg’s invention paved the way for the Renaissance.
Just as Gutenberg’s press was instrumental in the spread of scientific and literary advances of the Renaissance, widespread use of the computer and internet in the 20th Century has markedly shaped how modern people exchange ideas. The computer and internet combined consolidated several historically integral personnel involved in the printing process: writer, illustrator, editor, copier, publisher, salesperson. A single person is now capable of not only quickly creating a document but also then marketing it and seamlessly sharing it with any number of others through the internet. The creation of a printed version of that text is now largely at the discretion of the reader, and has the added capability of being produced at a rate never imagined by our counterparts. The current ease with which information is transferred makes it easy to believe that traditionally printed books are a dying breed, however, as Michael Suarez, director of University of Virginia’s Rare Book School, notes: Print didn’t replace writing by hand, film didn’t stop radio, television didn’t stop the world of film. (Rathbone,Emma)
As the way we share information continues to evolve the role of printed materials will also change. The abundance of available information will lead to advances in the way readers interact with published materials; printed documents will become an axillary component of the reading experience. Publishing companies will change to meet the demands of a new kind of reader.
Traditionally print-only products such as magazines and newspapers have begun augmenting their paper format with online versions. Instead of sifting through different sections readers can navigate by swiping or clicking the appropriate icon on a variety of mobile electronic devices. Extra information is brought by embedded videos, and hyperlinks. Digital technology has made keeping a stash of favorite articles, pictures and other items easier than ever before by creating searchable formats and the ability to save works in a small electronic container. Though magazines, newspaper, and other printed media will likely continue to be delivered to the reader’s doorstep their size will become smaller as more digital content is created. Printed versions of the publications will entice readers to visit websites, and engage in apps where most information will be available.
Russ Grandinetti, a vice president at online retailer Amazon, has said “For anyone who cares about books, it’s never been a better time to be a reader. The choices have never been greater — what to read, when to read it, and how to integrate books into your daily life.” (Minzesheimer, Bob) The sale of ebooks has steadily increased throughout the past decade but even by by 2012 only an estimated one in five U.S. adults were reading e-books. (Minzesheimer, Bob) The July 2012 Bookstats Report from the Association of American Publishers found that trade paperbacks still outsold e-books. Publishers have taken notice of this change; whereas fiction and non-fiction books both used to be released in hardcover then released again later in paperback the shift now is to simply release fiction straight to paperback edition. Narrative non-fictional works still show steady sales and continue to be released, and subsequently consumed, in hardcover format.
It’s evident that printed materials will continue to exist well into the future, though their use and form will change as our way of communicating changes. As consumers continue to turn their attention to digital media print editions of everyday materials will become ancillary to their digital counterparts. Also, traditional rules in publishing will change; writers of many genres will no longer find hardcover releases necessary and will release straight to paperpack of ebook.
Darnton, Robert. ““What Is The History Of Books?” .” Daedalus 111: 65-83. (accessed April 27, 2014).
Harry Ransom CenterThe University of Texas at Austin. “Primary Source Education Modules > Gutenberg Bible > Books Before and After > Early Writing .” Harry Ransom Center RSS. (accessed April 27, 2014).
Minzesheimer, Bob . “E-books sales surge after holidays.” USA Today, January 9, 2012, sec. Books.
Rathbone, Emma. “What’s the future of books in a digital world?.” The University of Virginia Magazine, Fall 2011.