The New ( Digital ) Renaissance


The first Renaissance started with the availability of paper, and the invention of movable type,by Gutenberg. This made information freely available, not just to the wealthy but to the ordinary person, These changes were localized, not world wide, because the dissemination of the ideas was hampered by the lack of easy communications. Many historians agree that this period was a true bridge from the Middle Ages, into what we now call the Modern Age.

A wood cut of Gutenberg's printing press

A wood cut of Gutenberg’s printing press

I think that we are now in a second Renaissance period, instead of paper, and movable type, we have LCD screens, e-ink, and electronics. Instead of Johannes Gutenburg and his printing press, we have Jeff Bezos and his line of Kindle Readers. And because of the Internet, the information isn’t localized to some city states in Italy, but all over the globe.

I love to read, and have been an avid reader since I was a child. As I got older, the personal digital assistants, starting with the Palm Device, became popular, I found that reading an e text was just as enjoyable as reading a paper book. The medium was not necessarily the message, the message was the message. It was the content I was after, not the shipping container. The screens were small, 4-5 inches at most, and people would ask if it wasn’t more trouble than it was worth. I, and a lot of others didn’t think so. Then dedicated reading devices became available, they had larger screens, and more features, but were prohibitively expensive, meant for the few who could afford them, more status symbol than tool. Then, Amazon came out with the Kindle e reader, the price at first was high, but much less than what was until then available. This made books, and a convenient way to read and store them, available to all.

  •  The first Amazon Kindle Reader

Today, you can buy a Kindle device for less than a $100, or you can buy one that does much more, for more money of course, but, with either, you can have a library that rivals that of a Renaissance prince, and carry it around in your pocket besides. My wife and I enjoy reading, we both use Kindles, and have a current library of more than 5,000 books. Fiction of many genres, instructional books, biographies, and more, and are richer for it.