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The Scroll and eReader

Last month, the New York Times took a fascinating look at the evolution of the written word, from the scroll, to the modern book (or codex, as it was originally known) to the modern ereader.

The codex also came with a fringe benefit: It created a very different reading experience. With a codex, for the first time, you could jump to any point in a text instantly, nonlinearly. You could flip back and forth between two pages and even study them both at once. You could cross-check passages and compare them and bookmark them. You could skim if you were bored, and jump back to reread your favorite parts. It was the paper equivalent of random-access memory, and it must have been almost supernaturally empowering. With a scroll you could only trudge through texts the long way, linearly.

Despite my love of technology, I prefer to read physical books. I love the tactile feel of paper as I flip the pages, and the aesthetic of printed letters (though the Kindle’s eInk is quite easy on the eyes).

But if I had to name one thing that I dislike the most about ereaders, it’s how I read stuff that’s on a screen - like a scroll.

Head over the NYT and read the full article. It’s short and fascinating.

Also worth checking out: How green is my iPad?