The future of the book has received a good deal of attention, as we move into an increasingly digital information environment. The e-book has become a reality, and the prospect of books being superseded entirely by blogs, wikis and other novel digital formats continues to be touted. The current status of, and future prospects for, the traditional book format have been analysed by authors such as Cope and Phillips (2006), Kovac (2008) and Thompson (2005, 2010).
Sometimes, looking critically at the past can be powerful source of ideas about the future, and ‘book history’ has a well-established literature to support this. An outstanding new resource gives this a greater impetus: Ashgate’s five volume series of critical essays: The history of the book in the West: a library of critical essays, edited by Alexis Weedon (Ashgate, Farnham, 2010)