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The Book

'The Book' cover image

The Book

The Life Story of a Technology

The printed book is one of life’s most frequently encountered technologies. Historian Nicole Howard provides a comprehensive survey of the evolution of this technology, tracing its development across many centuries and cultures.

No other technology in human history, declares Howard, has had the impact of this invention. By examining the book as a technology, Howard reveals how profoundly information and media have shaped history and how vital the technology of the book has been to cultural and intellectual change.

This engaging study extends from clay tablets and rolls of papyrus to bound folio sheets, from inks and scripts to lead type and printing presses, from the Linotype machine to the laptop. Cross-cultural in scope, it examines innovations in the production and manufacture of books from the Middle and Far East, Europe, and the Americas. Howard recounts printing techniques from Gutenberg’s first press to 21st-century electronic publishing.

Howard’s broad overview and accessible writing style make this book ideal for students and bibliophiles alike. The volume includes a glossary of terms, a timeline of important events, and a selected bibliography of useful resources for further information.