We are on the verge of a huge literary leap: the transition from printed bound book to e-book. No, the printed book, aka the codex, isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. But as the New York Times reports, e-book sales are up 160 percent. Book sales are down 9 percent.
We think of Gutenberg’s printing press as revolutionizing reading. And so it did, but as Lev Grossman writes in the Times’ book review, we need to contemplate how the change from scroll to page-turner, and now from book to e-book will impact the way we read, sending us from the previous nonlinear method back to linear. It’s not for nothing that we refer to e-readers as “tablets” we “scroll” through.
His thought-provoking piece reminded me of this wonderful bit of Norwegian comedy in which a medieval monk calls upon tech support to help him navigate the complex codex.