A Brief History of the Book


By Steven K. Galbraith

cover image of A Brief History of the Book

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This book leads readers through an intriguing examination how books began and have evolved through history, and explores where future technologies may lead them.

From ancient clay tablet and scrolls to medieval manuscripts and printed books to personal computers and iPads, this guide examines the fascinating history of books from 4000 BCE to the present. At each step of this evolution, technologies are examined and evaluated to show how these ideas are present from the very beginning of written communication.

Moving chronologically from the ancient world to the present, the book shows how written communication media evolved from cuneiform to the Kindle. Focusing on key technologies and vital periods of historical transition, it traces an evolution that elucidates the history of the written word, at each step examining and evaluating such aspects of technologies as memory capacity, readability and writability, durability, recyclability, information security, ease and mode of access, and cost. Additional attention is paid to how these technologies were made, how they were circulated, and who was reading them.

  • Provides faculty and students with a brief but fascinating and engagingly written textbook
  • Includes hands-on activities and course assignments that encourage student learning
  • Features interesting factoids and illustrations, making this book useful as a text, as a professional guide, or for pleasure reading
  • Available to buy

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    A Brief History of the Book