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From analog books to digital books

I like books. And I like technology. As a young graphic designer in the 80s, I was among the first in my industry to embrace digital technology, that is, computers. Before digital, there was analog, which really hadn't changed much since Johann Gutenberg first set the German alphabet in metal, arranged it all on a page, and used a modified wine press to transfer the image with ink onto paper in about the year 1439.

I can just imagine the old-timers in 1439 looking disapprovingly at the new technology of the printing press, and insisting that it wasn't a *real book* unless it was transcribed by hand. And what if the new technology failed? Would future printing presses still be able to print the books? Books had been transcribed by hand for hundreds of years - why change?

Now, after over 500 years, the process of reproducing books is now going through another major change. It's going from analog (paper books) to digital (computer files). And all the same concerns are still there. Why change? Will these really be *books* anymore? What if future computers can't read these digital files?

The invention of the printing press made ideas available in a way that civilization had never seen before. And digital is making the next step, which may be just as big.