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One of life's most frequently encountered technologies is perhaps the one most often taken for granted: the printed book. Daily contact with books makes these everyday objects so familiar that one is apt to forget that the invention of the book has more profoundly altered civilization than almost any other invention. This volume provides a broad overview of the printed book's development across many centuries, cultures, and in a variety of fields. It highlights the forerunners and offshoots of books that have come from and been dispersed to all corners of the globe. The creation of a single book requires diverse skills and techniques that have taken centuries to develop. This addition to the Greenwood Technographies series will give readers of all ages a greater appreciation for this familiar phenomenon that is part of everyone's life.

The Book: The Life Story of a Technology provides a concise overview of many of the most compelling and important stories of the history of book printing:

• The history of books, from papyrus scrolls to e-books

• The importance of Gutenberg and his historical context

• The development of book materials, bindings, typefaces, and printing methods

• The book's social and cultural influences, from scientific research and religious beliefs to the structure of government

• Modern technological advances in book printing technology, from linotype and lithography to computer composition and electronic publishing

The volume includes a glossary of terms, a timeline of important events, and a selected bibliography of useful resources for further information.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The Book: The Life Story of a Technology surveys the fine art of the printed book, providing a review of the history of its development over the centuries and around the world, discussing early books and their differences from later productions, and reviewing all the technical skills needed to produce a book right up to modern times."


MBR Bookwatch

"[P]rovides an overview of the book's development across centuries, cultures, and fields, from the papyrus scroll to e-books. She discusses the importance of Gutenberg and the context of his time; the development of book materials, bindings, typefaces, and printing methods; the book's cultural and social influences; and modern technological advances from linotype and lithography to electronic publishing."


Reference & Research Book News/Art Book News Annual

"In this broad and concise overview (back cover), Howard essentially skims very selective high points in the history of the book—from writing on papyrus (in about 2600 BCE) to the reusable e-paper and e-ink of the postmodern palimpsest that is today's e-book….This work is most suitable for general collections. Recommended. Lower-division undergraduates, two-year technical program students, and general readers."



"[T]he book is arguably the one technology that has made all others possible, it is also the most taken for granted. What Howard does is provide an exceedingly accessible retelling of the book's life story, one that shows precisely how books represent a peak of technology, giving permanence and form to ideas and relevance and resonance to their readers."


Libraries & the Cultural Record

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780313330285
  • Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 9/30/2005
  • Series: Greenwood Technographies Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 190
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

NICOLE HOWARD is Assistant Professor of History at California State University, East Bay.

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Table of Contents

1 Ancestors : books before print 1
2 Infancy : the earliest printed books, 1450-1500 27
3 Youth : books in the sixteenth century 55
4 Adulthood : early-modern books, 1600-1800 87
5 Maturity : books in the age of automation, 1800-1900 113
6 The future of books : twentieth century and beyond 139
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