Books as history: the importance of books beyond their texts

Front Cover
British Library, 2008 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 208 pages
1 Review
Books have been hugely important in human civilization as instruments for communicating information and ideas. The digital age is challenging their ongoing existence - although the e-book has not yet taken over from print on paper, the landscape is constantly changing, with more and more of the traditional functions of books being performed electronically.People usually think of books in terms of their contents, their texts, with less thought for books as artifacts. In fact, books may possess all kinds of potentially interesting qualities beyond their texts, as designed or artistic objects, or because they have unique properties deriving from the ways they have been printed, bound, annotated, beautified, or defaced. David Pearson explores these themes and uses many examples of books from the Middle Ages to the present day to show why books may be interesting beyond their texts. As the format of the book becomes history - as texts are increasingly communicated electronically - we can recognize that books are also history in another significant way. Books can develop their own individual histories, which provide important evidence about the way they were used and regarded in the past, which make them an indispensable part of the fabric of our cultural heritage. This book will raise awareness of an important aspect of the life of books in the context of the ongoing debate about their future. Extensively illustrated with a wide range of images, it will not only be approachable but also thought-provoking.

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - JBD1 - LibraryThing

David Pearson's Books as History (first published 2008; revised edition published by the British Library and Oak Knoll Press, 2011) ought to be read by, well, everyone, frankly, but at the very least ... Read full review



5 other sections not shown

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2008)

David Pearson is Director, University of London Research Library Services.

Bibliographic information