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Social Sci LibreTexts

10: Books

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    • 10.1: Introduction
      In 2004, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) released a report that it said represented “a national crisis.” What was under such dire peril that it threatened to “impoverish both cultural and civic life,” as NEA Chairman Dana Gioia put it? Reading—or, more aptly put, not reading. According to the report, Reading at Risk: A Survey of Literary Reading in America, less than half the population engaged in any literary reading in 2002, a record low since the survey’s beginnings in 1982.National
    • 10.2: History of Books
      Most historians trace the origins of the book back to the ancient Egyptians, whose papyrus scrolls looked very different from the books we’re accustomed to today. From the time they first developed a written script, around 3000 BCE (Before Common Era), Egyptians wrote on many different surfaces, including metal, leather, clay, stone, and bone. Most prominent, though, was the practice of using reed pens to write on papyrus scrolls. In many ways, papyrus was an ideal material for the Egyptians. It
    • 10.3: Books and the Development of U.S. Popular Culture
      At the turn of the 18th century, the American colonies could only claim about 250 published books.Nina Baym, introduction to The Norton Anthology of American Literature (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2007) A:1–14. In 2010 alone, more than 288,000 new titles were published.
    • 10.4: Major Book Formats
      From ancient Egyptian papyrus scrolls to scrollable 21st-century e-books, a book can come in many different formats. However, in some ways, it seems like the more things change, the more they stay the same. In the same way that early printed books were painstakingly illuminated to look more like medieval books, today’s e-books use e-paper technology to mimic the look of a printed page.
    • 10.5: Current Publishing Trends
      Indicate the effect of blockbuster syndrome on the publishing industry. Recognize how book superstores have changed the business of bookselling. Identify the causes and results of price wars in the book industry.
    • 10.6: The Influence of New Technology
      The book industry has changed enormously since its creation. From the invention of the papyrus scroll to the introduction of the e-book, new technologies continuously affect how people view and experience literature. With the advent of digital media, old-media industries, such as the book industry, must find ways to adapt.