August 2010 | Jonathan Shipley

Yes, We're in a Reading Revolution...

... but certainly not the first.

The Atlantic knows this. In fact, there have been oodles of reading revolutions before the Kindle Revolution. Indeed, Tim Carmody runs them down for us.

From the piece ...

5. The shift from scroll to codex was in turn enabled by a shift from papyrus to parchment and then paper, but honestly, the continual changes in materials essential to writing and reading alone could constitute a few dozen revolutions, at different places and times all over the world. Let's just say that what the

6. This is especially true for arguably the most important reading revolution--the industrial revolution. Gigantic presses powered by steam (and later, electric power) could crank out books and newspapers and advertisements that strained the always-fickle paper supply. Eventually, papermakers were able to invent a variety of mechanical and chemical techniques engineer decent-quality paper out of pulped wood, a supply that (unlike cloth rags) appeared limitless. Print was off to the races, and dozens of other inventions helped make generating texts cheaper and faster. Having beaten back the scroll, our anthropomorphized codex now jostled against increasingly-important nonbook documents glutting the alphabetic information stream, like newspapers and office memoranda. More people were reading too, thanks to cheap primers and a state-driven educational push towards universal literacy: historian David Hall has called this the "literacy revolution." If print in the Renaissance and early modern periods was a proof-of-concept, a limited beta--the Xerox PARC GUI and first-generation MacIntosh of the new modes of producing and consuming text--the age of industrial print was Windows 95.