Books and Screens: Expanding the Book through Online Resources

Over and over again we hear that the printed book is disappearing; some of the more inflammatory appeals even refer to ‘the death of the book’. Who killed the book? Computers, tablets, e-readers, and other technological tools have become the primary suspects. Indirectly, Amazon and other online retailers have been charged with accessory to murder. It was reported that the cyber world was a hostile environment for the printed book.

It is probably extreme to announce the death of the book. According to some reports, e-book sales have surpassed printed book sales in at least some areas of the market — but the printed book continues to be an important object in the way we communicate, transfer, and safeguard knowledge. The new fields of study that have been developed such as book history, material culture, and so on, have now expanded the book as both object and concept, and they have allowed us to revitalize the book under fresh perspectives.

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From Little London to Little Bengal

This post is part of a series about useful books and online resources for students of book history and material culture, written by current MSc students at the University of Edinburgh.


A large concern of mine in the field of book history is the relatively small number of comprehensive studies done on print cultures in non-Western cultures. Outside of brief articles and specific examples, there has not been a lot of information (or so this amateur researcher has found) to be had about broader print cultures. The strength of Daniel E. White’s book From Little London to Little Bengal: Religion, Print, and Modernity in Early British India is its ability to provide a broad framework for continued research in the print cultures of non-Western cultures, through the specific example of India.

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ABC for Book Collectors

This post is part of a series about useful books and online resources for students of book history and material culture, written by current MSc students at the University of Edinburgh.


If asked, I would say that I am equal parts book history student and book collector; not only do these identifications intersect nicely, but I find it difficult to imagine any student escaping a book history degree without one or two volumes that in some way highlight their specific interests within the field. ABC for Book Collectors by John Carter and Nicolas Barker is a delightful illustration of this intersection. It is both an amazing resource for understanding the sometimes nebulous terminology that sometimes seems rife within the field of bibliography as well as a genuinely interesting read.

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