Lev Grossman, book critic for TIME Magazine and New York Times Bestselling author of The Magicians and its newly released sequel, The Magician King, wrote an interesting piece on the good and bad merits of e-books and printed books (codex). He discuses the long-standing debate of both mediums and how, “so far the great e-book debate has barely touched on the most important feature that the codex introduced: the nonlinear reading that so impressed St. Augustine. ”
Something very important and very weird is happening to the book right now: It’s shedding its papery corpus and transmigrating into a bodiless digital form, right before our eyes. We’re witnessing the bibliographical equivalent of the rapture. If anything we may be lowballing the weirdness of it all.
The last time a change of this magnitude occurred was circa 1450, when Johannes Gutenberg invented movable type.
Grossman covers the history of the book, from scrolls to the more familiar codex and the migration of the written word and how it is affected by historical circumstance and personal preference. The piece is worth reading, and certainly worth some thought. With the ebook vs. print debate raging over these last couple years, it’s heartening to remember that this sort of thing has happened before (we say, as we clutch our beloved hardcovers while reading from the Kindle).
We’re fans of both print and digital books here at LitStack–for different reasons, each has its undisputed merit. Check out Grossman’s post and let us know what you think. What say you, Booklovers?