Response to The Designed Object

By Wesley A. Muthemba

What is a book?

Per Kilgour, a book is a storehouse of human knowledge intended for dissemination in the form of an artifact that is portable and that contains arrangements of signs that convey information.

Per the dictionary, a book is a handwritten or printed work of fiction or nonfiction, usually on sheets of paper fastened or bound together within covers. A work of fiction or nonfiction in an electronic format.

What are the distinguishing characteristics of a book; what sets it apart from other similar entities?

Per Houston, Rome in the 1st Century CE was awash with the written word. Statues, monuments, and gravestones were inscribed with stately capital letters; citizens took notes and sent messages on wax-covered wooden writing tablets; and the libraries of the wealthy were stocked with books on history, philosophy, and the arts. But these were not books as we know them — they were scrolls, made from sheets of Egyptian papyrus pasted into rolls. For one thing, it took both hands to read a scroll properly. This, then, was the second major problem with scrolls: papyrus was not an inherently long-lived material, especially if removed from its hot, dry Mediterranean comfort zone.

5 necessary “elements” present at each of the major innovations of the book.

  1. Societal need for information.

2. Technological knowledge and experience.

3. Organizational experience and capability.

4. The capability of integrating a new form into existing information systems.

5. Economic viability.

Which one do you think is the most important today, as the book evolves again, and why?

I believe that technological knowledge and experience is the most important innovation as the book evolves again. Phones are becoming more accessible to every individual on the planet and since we are already capable of having electronic books in our phones and laptops which can be stored in the cloud or in your device. As time goes by, people will find no use in buying physical books which occupy space and are becoming more expensive compared to electronic books due to costs. With physical books, you will need to have your work printed into a book, shipped, and sold through shops which increases the price. Whereas, the electronic book just needs to be converted into a PDF and sell it at your own convenience.

20 components/pieces/parts of a physical book:

1. Half title. This page contains only the title of the book and is typically the first page you see when opening the cover.

2. Title page.

3. Copyright page.

4. Frontispiece. An illustration on the page facing the title page.

5. Dedication.

6. Epigraph.

7. Table of contents.

8. Foreword.

9. Preface.

10. Acknowledgment.

11. Introduction.

12. Prologue.

13. Epilogue.

14. Index.

15. Afterword.

16. Conclusion.

17. Postscript.

18. Appendix.

19. Glossary.

20. Bibliography.

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