Bolter by Theresa Baran

This post is a response to Bolter’s Introduction Writing In the Late Age of Print as well as Writing as Technology. I will admit, I do jump around in my thought process though.

As the years progressed, so did the “technologies” for writing. Each new medium for writing was considered a new technology, even if to the modern man of the twenty-first century it seems primal.

  • Let’s take a quick look at the Evolution of Writing:
    • 3100 BC – Inscribed in clay (Mesopotamian)
    • 3000 BC – Papyrus (Egyptian)
    • 1500 BC – Bamboo Books (dates back to Shang dynasty)
    • 5th Century BC –  Wax, leaves and wood (Indian)
    • 2nd Century BC – Pergamum and parchment (Mediterranean)
    • AD 105 – The Discovery of Paper (Chinese)
    • 12th Century – Paper reaches Spain
    • 15th Century – Paper reaches Europe 
      • Printed books now available.
    • early 19th Century – Rags
      • Late 19th century – Wood Pulp

So where does this leave us now? Yes, the compiled list above is the medium in which the words were transcribed to, but in terms of actually writing, where are we now? The majority of the US population writes using some form of electronic device- whether that be a computer, a tablet or even a cell phone is completely up to the person using said device. Go back almost six hundred years. There was no such thing as a computer. It was the all handwriting. Calligraphy is now a lost art to the age of novelty fonts. “…The printing press, the typewriter, and the Linotype machine [are] technologies. These industrial-age means of book production were complex and to a degree of  self-activating or self-directing.” (Bolter, J.D. 2001.) The advancements of writing technologies over the years assisted in making lives easier due to the ease of duplication. But with each great idea to hit man-kind someone is waiting in the wings with an even grander idea. Take the typewriter for example. There were several variations of that itself,  each one developed by someone who figured out how to fix the flaws with the model before it. But from the typewriter we got computers, which in turn opened up a whole new world of electronics to be marketed and make the “modern man’s” life easier. “As we look up from our computer keyboard to the books on our shelves we may be tempted to ask whether ‘ this will destroy that.'” (Bolter, J.D. 2001). And the answer to that question, in my opinion is that yes. Technology is destroying physical printing. My friend has a little sister who is eight years old. When I was eight years old, I was starting to learn cursive hand writing in school. My friend’s sister, however, is not. In place of cursive lessons, students are getting typing lessons. Yes, typing is an important skill to have, but by the time a child is six or seven, they seem to know more about electronics than a third of adults do. Cursive is soon going to be a lost art, like calligraphy. Ever since the .com industry exploded, newspapers across the country have either been making cutbacks or closing due to the lack of employees needed, keeping only the bare minimum because computers can do so much more than a person can in half time. “The Late Age in Print.” Books to E-Books. Everyone has their personal opinions on this. This girl, however is not pro-ebooks. In case you are interested, I own nearly 800 print books (and that number grows a little every day.) The only reason I have the Nook app on my iPad is because I have it loaded with guilty pleasure books, the ones I would never be caught dead reading in print. These are the books that maybe society says I’m too old for or maybe it’s books that are being made fun of by all my friends, but I enjoy the easy flow of the read. Other than that, I have no desire for E-Books.

Everything that is Wrong with E-Books According to Theresa:

  • You don’t get that new (or old) book smell
  • you don’t get the satisfaction of turning a page.
  • You definitely don’t get the satisfaction of slamming the book closed when your favorite character does something completely stupid
  • You don’t ability to throw the book across the room when your favorite author kills off your favorite character (Thanks John Green!)
    • I mean, I suppose you could throw your device across the room like a frisbee and risk cracking the screen, but when you pay upwards of 700$ I wouldn’t want to risk it.
  • (Stereo-typically females only) You can’t take a bubble bath and read with an E-Book. You drop the device, boom. Dead.

While I know that print books are on their way out and libraries, as well as small business book stores, are making closings, it comforts me that print books won’t become obsolete for a long time. All I can hope for is that print books don’t go out of style until after I’m six-feet under. (Sorry for the morbid picture)

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