- Used Books
- Staff Picks
- Gifts & Gift Cards
- Sell Books
- Stores & Events
- Let's Talk Books
Special Offers see all
More at Powell's
Recently Viewed clear list
This item may be
Check for Availability
The Case for Books: Past, Present, and Futureby Robert Darnton
"Academic and director of the Harvard Library, Robert Darnton has recently pulled together a series of essays on the subject and published them as The Case for Books, which, in the face of so many different options for information retrieval, pleads an elegant case for the continued existence of the codex." Gerry Donaghy, Powells.com (read the entire Powells.com review)
Synopses & Reviews
The invention of writing was one of the most important technological, cultural, and sociological breakthroughs in human history. With the printed book, information and ideas could disseminate more widely and effectively than ever before — and in some cases, affect and redirect the sway of history.
Today, nearly one million books are published each year. But is the era of the book as we know it — a codex of bound pages — coming to an end? And if it is, should we celebrate its demise and the creation of a democratic digital future, or mourn an irreplaceable loss? The digital age is revolutionizing the information landscape. Already, more books have been scanned and digitized than were housed in the great library in Alexandria, making available millions of texts for a curious reader at the click of a button, and electronic book sales are growing exponentially. Will this revolution in the delivery of information and entertainment make for more transparent and far-reaching dissemination or create a monopolistic stranglehold?
In The Case for Books, Robert Darnton, an intellectual pioneer in the field of the history of the book and director of Harvard University's Library, offers an in-depth examination of the book from its earliest beginnings to its shifting role today in popular culture, commerce, and the academy. As an author, editorial advisor, and publishing entrepreneur, Darnton is a unique authority on the life and role of the book in society. This book is a wise work of scholarship — one that requires readers to carefully consider how the digital revolution will broadly affect the marketplace of ideas.
"Is the age of the printed book coming to an end? If history is any guide, notes Harvard University Library director Darnton, not any time soon. In this collection of previously published essays, an 'unashamed apology for the printed word,' Darnton, an eloquent writer and one of the world's foremost historians of the book, offers a fascinating history of our literary past and a penetrating look at the disruptive forces shaping the future of publishing. Almost no topic is untouched, from the role of libraries to metadata, the print traditions of Europe, piracy old and new, Darnton's own forays into digital initiatives and the efficacy— even the beauty — of our changing literary landscape over centuries of development. This book clearly has a main character, however — Google. The search giant appears often. While the individual essays are brief, in sum, the book offers a deep dive into the evolution of the written and published word. Darnton offers little cover from the winds of change, but for book lovers and publishing professionals he offers the comfort that comes from understanding the past, and hope, as he places the Internet among a litany of disruptive innovations the book has survived." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Historian and library director Darnton....encapsulates one significant part of his immense legacy and contribution to intellectual history....Every one of Darnton's essays reflects both his erudition and his good humor." Booklist
"The stimulating and thought-provoking essays in The Case for Books: Past, Present, and Future provide us with an excellent overview of where we have been and where we are likely to be headed." BookPage
"Robert Darnton...offers a decidedly open-minded perspective on some of the technological changes affecting the world of books and leads an insightful and learned discussion of topics that will appeal to more traditional bibliophiles." Shelf Awareness
A renowned historian and pioneering scholar in the history of the book — a lead voice in the debate about the digital future of books and knowledge — distills his experience and insight in The Case for Books.
About the Author
A former professor of European History at Princeton University, Robert Darnton is Carl H. Pforzheimer University Professor and director of the Harvard University Library. The founder of the Gutenberg-e program, he is the author of many books. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
What Our Readers Are Saying
Average customer rating based on 1 comment: