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The Book That Contains All Books

Published on October 19, 2009
by Stephen Marche

On Monday, the Kindle 2 will become the first e-reader available globally. The only other events as important to the history of the book are the birth of print and the shift from the scroll to bound pages. The e-reader, now widely available, will likely change our thinking and our being as profoundly as the two previous pre-digital manifestations of text. The question is how. And the answer can be found in the history of earlier book forms.

Most literate people are familiar with at least some of the consequences of the print revolution of the 15th century, but far fewer are as aware of the much more profound change that occurred when rolls were replaced by codices–pages bound between covers–in the late Roman period.

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