- Audible Audio Edition
- Listening Length: 5 hours and 39 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Public Affairs
- Audible.com Release Date: October 27, 2009
- Language: English
- ASIN: B002ULA28M
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
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The Case for Books: Past, Present, and Future Audible – Unabridged
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Top Customer Reviews
Some of the interesting topics touched on in this eclectic collection are the economics of publishing -- what is a scholar to do in a world where university presses can't count on selling 800 copies of a monograph? Can electronic publishing help meet the needs of the scholarly community to publish or perish -- and what is the price that would be paid? Darnton speaks out about the tendency of some librarians to value space and what that means for preservation; as well as the dangers associated with simply tossing out old newspapers after reproducing them on microfilm. (What if the microfilm is fuzzy? What if someone made margin notes that aren't reproduced; yet those margin notes inform later scholars or historians far more than the original content itself, with the passage of time?) There is an essay on bibliography and the importance of studying the history of the publication of a book or work (such as the various folios of Shakespeare).Read more ›
As indicated by the title, The Case for Books is divided into three sections, as indicated by the title, but the Introduction has one of the most important points in the book, in my opinion. Darnton says:"A generation "born digital" is "always on," conversing everywhere on cell phones, tapping out instant messages, and networking in real or virtual realities. The younger people you pass on the street or sit next to on a bus are both simultaneously there and not there." Even so, he doesn't want to choose between print and ebooks. He analyzes the way the public interacts with books and printing (he is especially fond of the 17th century and spends a lot of time on the craft of bibliography and the way it is possible to distinguish between editions of Shakespeare) and then provides one of the best and certainly one of the clearest explanations of the Google book settlement that I have read. He is obviously a fan of Google Books and other projects that provide access to information, but he is also not overly dazzled and points out the danger of giving one commercial entity a monopoly or even fostering an oligopoly.
I particularly liked the chapters that dealt with reading.Read more ›
The title indicates that Robert Darnton, an eminent historian and scholar, will mount an argument in favor of books. Instead, what follows is a series of his old articles, dating back to the early 1980s, with nothing seriously unifying the group.
A few of these old articles, laid out as chapters, are somewhat interesting. However, others are shameful, including one that reproduces a grant proposal he made in 1997, followed by a progress report from 2002. This is just lazy and insulting to readers.
Nowhere on the outer cover does it indicate that this is a collection of previously published essays; there's just a passing mention in the back flap. Seemingly, they wanted this to look like a book that it is not.
I do admire Darnton as a scholar, but I have lost admiration for him after this. For he, who so admires books, to release this is neither a tribute to the medium, nor to his readers.
As it turns out, only the new "chapter" on Google fits most expectations. Darnton makes a case both for and against digitization of books, but mostly he comes out against. One reason is the potential for loss of control of the books by both authors and publishers that could be a result of this and other projects. Another reason is having the control of much of the written word in the hands of one entity. This does not bode well for anyone in the business - including readers. Whether this is Google's intent, the project does tend to bring out the paranoia in those who believe in access to all books by all people.
The rest of the book is a re-printing of several earlier essays by Darnton, something that is not mentioned specifically on the book covers. Some of these are interesting, some are not. The chapter on the grant proposal would be useful only for someone looking for a sample of such, and does not make interesting reading. The same could be said for the chapter "The Importance of Being Bibliographical.
Now, the chapter on commonplace books was delightful, especially since this was a term I had never heard. I am familiar with marginalia (the practice of writing comments in the margins of books).Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Written in 2010, The Case for Books, already seems a bit dated. That is for two reasons. The content is comprised of essays that go back much further and the big bugaboo of Google... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Jeffrey Swystun
Darnton is a good source on the crucial opening of the whole question of digitized books. Unfortunately, he reiterates his position here through three essays opening the volume... Read morePublished on August 26, 2013 by Stuart K Patterson
That's a very, very good book: 1. wonderful argumentation, 2. a broad spectrum of sub-topics, 3. no triviality, 4. bright personal idiom of speaking about the subject. Read morePublished on October 16, 2012 by Antoinette
Darnton's argument is definitely one of open access, "free to all" policies. This book gives insider knowledge on the set up and formation of Gutenberg-e, a project that Darnton... Read morePublished on April 12, 2012 by Hannah Mundt
This book wasn't what I had in mind when I set out to research an eBook talking about eBooks. I found the information to be interesting, but essentially out of date. Read morePublished on July 4, 2011 by Stephanie
When I saw this book (at my local library, no less) I was immediately excited and eager to read it. As someone who loves books, but grew up in an age of ever increasing... Read morePublished on June 30, 2011 by K Davis
While there are several interesting factoids and anecdotes in this book, the overall format is quite poor, editorially speaking. Read morePublished on April 23, 2011 by Andrew Bazilewich
This book is a collection of essays about books. Darnton is enthralled about the possibilities of Google Books, because it has the potential of providing a worldwide library... Read morePublished on September 6, 2010 by Dr. Marc Axelrod
The Case for the Book is a collection of essays on books, their history and their future. Some of the topics discussed are digital books (e-books), Google Book Search, improvements... Read morePublished on June 17, 2010 by Christopher Obert