Will the Codex Lead to the Demise of our Precious Scrolls and Reading?

I’m sure you’ve all heard of this new invention: the folding book. Recently certain sects have developed this new format where, instead of our beautiful papyrus scroll, the text is scribbled onto tiny pages. One after the other. Plus, these people write in recto and verso, on both sides of the paper!

Personally, I love strolling through the library and choosing just the right scroll from the stacks. I know where to start reading and where to stop. The scroll is simple. You unroll as you read. Need to take a break? Then simply leave the scroll at the point you stopped.

You can’t do this with to codex. Instead you need some sort of tool to mark your position. Additionally, readers can skip around the text, going from the middle to the start and then to the end. Insanity. The author did not intend for that sort of haphazard reading. You might as well cut up scrolls and toss them on the floor.

Obviously, reading will decline. Scholars shall not tolerate these hard bound, page flipping codices. Our precious knowledge, stored up for centuries on scrolls, will slip away. Readers attention will decrease, tempted as they are by the ability to skip to the end of the story.

I say we do whatever we can to halt the codex in its tracks. Bring back fine papyrus scroll work—the only method to publish a scholarly work.

Think this is absurd? Look closely at what’s happening today with books. Manuscripts have survived from scrolls, to codices, to paper books. Words are ideas that cannot die, no matter the publication format.

Tim Kane

2 comments on “Will the Codex Lead to the Demise of our Precious Scrolls and Reading?

  1. *smack* There! You deserved that because I suspect that you are coyly referring to the advent of ebooks, which in my opinion should have their inventor burned at the stake! There! Go ahead and call me ridiculously old fashioned. Fine! I am 🙂

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