Books are Technology, Too; Books are Machines

Bonvin, Still Life with Book, Papers and Inkwell, 1876

The printed book, like the manuscript in codex form before it, is a machine -- something apparent in the following e-mail message a friend sent thanking me for a copy of Hypertext 2.0:

Mime-Version: 1.0
Date: Thu, 23 Oct 1997 05:38:09 -0800
From: (Dan Russell)
Subject: Books, in the mail?
Status: RO


I just received a wonderful and strange device in the mail. It's a web that requires no power, has no startup time, and has a lovely sort-of retro feel to it. Oddly enough, it has your name on the outside static display surfaces, so I must assume it derives from your keyboard! (The word "dust-jacket" crawls slowly to the surface of my mind from someplace dark and dusty deep within.)

I compliment you on the quality of the device: the displays are very high-quality -- stable, high contrast, nice aspect ratio, very high DPI....

But how do I search it? Oh look! How quaint! In the back of the device you've pre-compiled the index!

Bravo, George, bravo!! I always knew your fascination with Victoriana would pay off one day. What a masterful combination of current design with an artful rendering of what *books* once were. I love it!

Thanks very much for sending it my way.

-- ;-) -- -- Dan --

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Last modified 27 January 2005