The book is technology. The book is art. The book is as artificial as a Facebook profile. People have died for books.
Before the printing press, books were expensive
- The skin of one goat or sheep for each 16 pages
- Every word written by hand
- Every illustration drawn by hand
- Page numbering (if any), indexing (if any), table of contents (if any) -- all by hand
- Pages assembled and bound by hand
Books usually aren't free. If you want free access to a book, a very inefficient distribution system requires you to walk to the storage center (the "library"), find it on a shelf, and use your muscles to pick it up. And if your nearby library doesn't have a copy, you might have to fill out a piece of paper to request a far-away library to send a copy to your nearby library (and, after all that, you still have to walk to the library to get it!)
The book is fragile.
A photographer recently posted a Flickr photoset that documents an excursion into the Detroit Public Schools Book Depository / Roosevelt Warehouse.