by: Alicia Hughes
Gutenberg’s press wasn’t invented in a day; in fact, it wasn’t even made into widely used technology in a day. The press that revolutionized the spread and flow of ideas gradually came to be after centuries of manually transcribing texts and even after Gutenberg’s press was unveiled to the public there was still hesitancy towards shifting to a more efficient process.
In From Gutenberg to the Internet, Jeremy Norma spends time to talk about choosing manuscript copies over printed books whether it be because of preference or the esteem that went with having a manuscript copy, “It has been shown that in the later part of the fifteenth century, scribes produced a large number of manuscript copies of printed books, presumably for patrons who preferred the traditional over the new technology, or possibly to substitute for a printed books if the printed was unavailable…The production of deluxe illuminated manuscript books of hours written and hand-printed on vellum, which were far more luxurious and expensive than printed books” (Norman 27).
This is much like times now with the rapid succession of technological advances. We can now read books online and although, it’s most times quicker and cheaper many people still prefer physical books to electronic copies.
I see a lot of parallels between what happened back in the 15th century and what’s happening now. As students who may one day work in publishing, we ourselves will also have to deal with phasing out the old to bring in the new even though many are set in their ways. We’ll have to deal with transitioning new technologies in when people are resistant to let the old technology go. So maybe we should take note on what worked and didn’t work then because in all reality it’s not so different to the technological revolution of today. It’s better to go into a battle prepared than clueless. After all, who knows when it’ll happen the next time. It could be another six hundred years or it could be another six.