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  • I will lend books to people, but, of course, the rule is: Don't do that unless you never intend to see that book again.

  • The physical object of a book is almost like a person.

  • I mean, it has a spine, it has a backbone, it has a face.

  • Actually, it can, sort of, be your friend.

  • Books record the basic human experience like no other medium can.

  • Before there were books, ancient civilizations would record things by notches on bones or rocks or what have you.

  • The first books as we know them originated in ancient Rome.

  • We go by a term called the "codex", where they would have two heavy pieces of wood which become the cover,

  • and then the pages in between would then be stitched along one side to make something that was relatively easily transportable.

  • They all had to completely be done by hand, which became the work of what we know as a scribe.

  • And, frankly, they were luxury items.

  • And then a printer named Johannes Gutenberg, in the mid-15th century, created the means to mass-produce a book, the modern printing press.

  • It wasn't until then that there was any kind of consumption of books by a large audience.

  • Book covers started to come into use in the early 19th century, and they were called "dust wrappers".

  • [They] Usually had advertising on them.

  • So people would take them off and throw them away.

  • It wasn't until the turn of the 19th into the 20th century that book jackets could be seen as interesting design in and of themselves.

  • Such that I'd look at that and I'd think, "I wanna read that; that interests me."

  • The physical book itself represents both a technological advance but also a piece of technology in and of itself.

  • It delivered a user interface that was unlike anything that people had before.

  • And you could argue that it's still the best way to deliver that to an audience.

  • I believe that the core purpose of a physical book is to record our existence and to leave it behind on a shelf, in a library, in a home for generations down the road to understand where they came from.

  • That people went through some of the same things that they're going through.

  • And it's, like, a dialogue that you have with the author.

  • I think you have a much more human relationship to a printed book than you do to one that's on a screen.

  • People want the experience of holding it, of turning the page, of marking their progress in a story.

  • And then you have, of all things, the smell of a book.

  • Fresh ink on paper or the aging paper smell.

  • You don't really get that from anything else.

  • The book itself, you know, can't be turned off with a switch.

  • It's a story that you can hold in your hand and carry around with you, and that's part of what makes them so valuable.

  • And, I think, will make them valuable for... for the duration.

  • A shelf of books, frankly, is made to outlast you, no matter who you are.

I will lend books to people, but, of course, the rule is: Don't do that unless you never intend to see that book again.

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A2 US TED nineteenth big idea physical record century

Why books are here to stay | Small Thing Big Idea, a TED series

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    crystallmk posted on 2022/05/27
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