chapter  1
28 Pages

After Print?

This chapter discusses the digitization of the production process, print-on-demand, web advertising, sales and reviewing, and the accessibility of high quality digital facsimiles. Digital literacy is required in most areas of the job market and increasingly informs our non-work transactions and identities. Digital texts still largely serve as surrogates for printed texts and are often delivered, for preference, as print. For the first generation of literary critics exploring the so-called liberational effect of electronic technology on texts, Marshall McLuhan reintroduced into debate the lost distinction between rhetorical and written language, and legitimated the critical hype that greeted hypertext in the early 1990s. A second generation of digital scholarship is currently annexing the area of cultural studies developed as the History of the Book as the inevitable extension of their own proper activities. The shift from hypertext to book is ironic in its relocation of the earlier liberationist textual thinking in the situated electronic simulation of specific print objects.