The "death of the book" is an event that has often been foretold by theorists of electronic text. These theorists have shown a strong tendency to view the printed book as a static, unchanging artifact incapable of responding to technological innovation. They seem to view print and electronic media as successive stages in a linear progression in which electronic text is destined to supersede print. In place of this linear model of technological change, my paper proposes a model of co-evolution in which electronic and print media develop concurrently. Examining recent trends in the design of instructional computer books, it investigates the mutual influences between the two media, demonstrating ways in which the graphic design of the printed page constructively responds to electronic text.

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Michael Hancher

Department of English, University of Minnesota


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Created 5 March 1996

Last revised1996