Bri Colorful

Keep Scrolling

Posted on: September 16, 2010

I had an interesting insight in class the other day. We’ve been talking about the Gutenberg press and comparing it with the recent attempts at creating online libraries of books whose copyright have expired. Before movable type, instead of book format, many manuscripts took the form of scrolls. Then with printing we standardized the form of the book. Perhaps now we’re moving to scrolling once more, only this time it’s down the screen of a computer. What do you think about this change? Is there something to holding that tangible object in your hands, physically turning pages, instead of flipping them with a swish of your finger on an iPhone or Kindle?

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10 Responses to "Keep Scrolling"

I love tech stuff, AND I love the real, old stuff. I think we can like both, huh?

Totally. But I wonder if we always will have both or if like the scroll before it, one day, far into the future, the hardcopy book format will disappear. . . What changes would happen if suddenly the only format was electronic? How would how we think of books themselves change?

I spent hours yesterday reading a thick book on the beach. It weighed only ounces and fit nicely in my hand, which was just right in my circumstances. To turn the page, all I had to do was click. The occasional strong breeze did not tug at the pages. I’ve read it a number of times in the past – and had to use a table to do it – but yesterday, I read it reclining on a beach chair – via the Kindle – and actually had a whole library with me because of that.

One drawback to this approach to scholarship-on-the-beach (and it really drove me crazy) is that I couldn’t make notes or highlight the text the way I love to. (I CAN do that to some extent on my IPhone scriptures.) BUT – if I had to choose only ONE way of reading – it would be a hard cover and paper….I think….then again…

The beauty is, we don’t have to choose one way. Yet, But I wonder if one day the option will be taken from us and all books will be in electronic format; if the book format (like the scroll before it) will become outmoded. We will probably find ways to do highlights, notes, etc and even new ways of reading books we haven’t had before (ie. linking to sites throughout the text, maybe authors will no longer remind you of stuff they said in a previous book, just refer you to it with a link or a to a summary with a link). the format may change how we think of books themselves. Interesting . . .

Hyperlinking in the scriptures makes the new again, so I love the electronic format there. I can still speed read book format much easier than iPhone/kindle. You loose a lot of the organizational context when it’s just a small window of text.

That is a really interesting point. I hadn’t really thought of that. I had just assumed you could read things faster in electronic format, but I have noticed I get pretty annoyed when I can’t look at the footnotes for things I read online because I have to scroll all the way to the bottom. Some (like scriptures) have circumvented this by automatically jumping to the footnote, but not most.

I am definitely a book-in-hand kind of girl. Reading from a computer somehow isn’t satisfying to me. It feels like work instead of pleasure, which is okay if I’m just researching something. I just think of email. Personal email is nice to me, but nothing beats getting a letter in the snail mail. (You’d think I’d be better at sending them, then…) I guess convenience wins when it comes to mail, but I have to say, I imagine I will always have a heavy carry-on because of the number of books in my backpack rather than an electronic library. It’s the turning of the pages and being able to tangibly see how far you are in a book, and the smell and the rustle of the pages and fighting the wind and all that wonderfulness that makes a book so enjoyable. Call me old-fashioned. Or, since the scroll came first, am I the technological one? 🙂

A piece of computer doesn’t smell like a brand new book. Thus, it will never be the same to me. Maybe the Kindle/Nook/whatever is good for textbooks and/or traveling, but to me a real book will always beat it. Booyah.

I’m happy with both. When I read for me, my first and happiest pick would be the print book. Love curling up with it. And I don’t feel the print book is damaged as much when it falls off my bed when I fall asleep as a Kindle might. But I LOVE that things are available digitally. I can’t tell you how often I use the electronically printed word.

And as for the possibility of everything going digital, I don’t think so. We discuss this a lot in libraries. Audio never replaced print. And I don’t think we print lovers will let digital do so either. Print has been around since those marvelous scrolls. And stuck around with every medium it could have had–like metal plates! So, I’m pretty sure it’s here to stay, and glad it is.

[…] learning in a way that will be interesting to those I know keep up with my blog. One of the posts I believe did this especially well was about the shift from scrolls to books to online books. […]

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