Manuscript Writing to Kindle Reading

Kendall Richer

Today, there is existing technology that people decades ago couldn’t even imagine. When something new is released, some people think there is absolutely no way it could get more advanced than this. Others question why flying cars have yet to be invented. The way we think about technological advances differs from person to person. However, we can all agree that technology has inexplicably transformed nonetheless. This is especially true in literary publishing. In the fifteenth century, Gutenberg’s printing press changed the way people wrote their ideas. In the twentieth century, electronic digital media was introduced and opened even more doors in the publishing industry. Regardless of what people think about these advances, they occur in order to make the publishing industry thrive, as well as more convenient.

In From Gutenberg to the Internet, Jeremy Norman briefly discusses the shift from manuscript writing to the printing press, as well as the effects it had on the society. The author explains that, “the limited supply and high costs of manuscripts restricted their circulation” and “inevitably constrained the development and flow of ideas” (23). Back then, manuscript writing was extremely tedious and costly; because of this, very few books were made. Resultantly, ideas within such books were restricted and travelled to readers at a much slower pace. With the invention of Gutenberg’s printing press, “Printing greatly increased the speed of book production and lowered its unit cost” and so, “printing caught on relatively quickly” (28). Now that more books were being produced, people could easily express their ideas to readers and for a much lower price. In the fifteenth century, the invention of the printing press made writing and reading much more convenient for society.

Within the publishing industry today, the Internet is used for most things. Authors even have the choice to publish versions of their work electronically and sell “e-books.” While some people associate the act of reading with physically touching a book and flipping through its pages, digital media has changed the way people can read. Kindles, an invention people in the fifteenth century couldn’t even dream of, make reading a lot more convenient today. Kindles allow you to have multiple books right at your fingertips, without having to carry them around with you wherever you go. E-books on a kindle even allow you to change the size of fonts in order to read the words better. While some people may choose to buy print versions of books and read them that way, kindles do make things more convenient for some readers today. Whether it is the transformation from manuscript writing to the printing press or reading e-books on a kindle, the technological advances that occur every day affect the publishing industry and society as a whole in order to continue making writing and reading more convenient for everyone.


2 thoughts on “Manuscript Writing to Kindle Reading

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  1. Hey Kendall!

    I really like what you have here. You mentioned how few books were made back then, which made me think about how books used to be chained in libraries so no one could take them out. It’s kind of interesting to think about how books were looked at as almost a luxury in this era, but today they’re extremely accessible. You touched base on this a little bit with the part about the Kindle. Not only has technology made publishing easier, but it’s made reading and having access to publications easier as well.

    I think if you talked about just how difficult the publishing process was before (and still after) the invention of the printing press, your post would be stronger. It’s so easy to publish something online today that I feel like a lot of people can’t really grasp how difficult it used to be. I think if you added some more details, like how it was all done by hand, how long the process took, etc. then it would really be captivating to see just how easy everything is now in comparison.

    Awesome job!


  2. Kendall, I’m struck by the different emphases in your title on writing vs. reading. Still pondering what that might suggest (in other words: good title!). You might further consider how convenience and cost drive innovation. Do these work in tandem or are they different forces?

    Occasionally, you can simplify word choice (i.e. “inexplicably transformed nonetheless” could be condensed), but overall this is clear and thoughtful.


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