Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2009


Arts and Humanities


Students often approach discussions about the future of the book with a narrow conception of “the book”: “book” means “codex.” By reading theoretical and historical studies of the book, writing critiques of artists’ books, and creating handmade books, students can examine and question their assumptions about the essential qualities of “the book.” This paper describes a sequence of assignments designed to move students toward analysis of the relationships between forms and content in a variety of printed books, artists’ books, and electronic books. Students come to understand more fully the historical reasons for the development of the codex form and to think more broadly about technologies and formal possibilities of “the book.”


This is the author's post-print of an article that was subsequently published as Cynthia N. Malone. "The Futures of Books: Technologies and Forms." The International Journal of the Book 6:1 (Spring 2009) 115-120.