The Book on the Bookshelf.

PETROSKI, Henry.

Published by Alfred A. Knopf, 1999
ISBN 10: 0375406492 / ISBN 13: 9780375406492
Used / Hardcover / Quantity Available: 0
Available From More Booksellers
View all  copies of this book

About the Book

We're sorry; this specific copy is no longer available. AbeBooks has millions of books. We've listed similar copies below.

Description:

Small 4to. Brown and tan paper over boards with gilt lettering, pictorial dust jacket. x, 290pp. Illustrations. Fine/fine. A tight and pristine third printing of this intriguing study, with a fine red-bordered bookplate signed by Petroski in black fineline on the half-title page. Bookseller Inventory #

About this title:

Book ratings provided by Goodreads:
3.74 avg rating
(1,190 ratings)

Synopsis: He has been called "the poet laureate of technology" and a writer who is "erudite, witty, thoughtful, and accessible." Now Henry Petroski turns to the subject of books and bookshelves, and wonders whether it was inevitable that books would come to be arranged vertically as they are today on horizontal shelves. As we learn how the ancient scroll became the codex became the volume we are used to, we explore the ways in which the housing of books evolved. Petroski takes us into the pre-Gutenberg world, where books were so scarce they were chained to lecterns for security. He explains how the printing press not only changes the way books were made and shelved, but also increased their availability and transformed book readers into books owners and collectors. He shows us that for a time books were shelved with their spines in, and it was not until after the arrival of the modern bookcase that she spines faced out.

In delightful digressions, Petroski lets Seneca have his say on "the evils of book collecting"; examines the famed collection of Samuel Pepys (only three thousand titles: old discarded to make room for new); and discusses bookselling, book buying, and book collecting through the centuries.

Richly illustrated and wonderfully written, this is the ultimate book on the book: how it came to be and how we have come to keep it.

Review: Consider the book. Though Goodnight Moon and Finnegans Wake differ considerably in content and intended audience, they do share some basic characteristics. They have pages, they're roughly the same shape, and whether in a bookstore, library, or private home, they are generally stored vertically on shelves. Indeed, this is so much the norm that in these days of high-tech printing presses and chain bookstores, it's easy to believe that the book, like the cockroach, remains much the same as it ever was. But as Henry Petroski makes abundantly clear in Book on the Bookshelf, books as we know them have had a long and complex evolution. Indeed, he takes us from the scroll to the codex to the hand-lettered illuminated texts that were so rare and valuable they were chained to lecterns to prevent theft. Along the way he provides plenty of amusing anecdotes about libraries (according to one possibly apocryphal account, the library at Alexandria borrowed the works of the great Greek authors from Athens, had them copied, and then sent the copies back, keeping the originals), book collectors, and the care of books.

Book-lover though he may be, however, Henry Petroski is, first and foremost, an engineer and so, in the end, it is the evolution of bookshelves even more than of books that fascinates him. Pigeonholes for scrolls, book presses containing thousands of chained volumes, rotating lecterns that allowed scholars to peruse more than one book at a time--these are just a few of the ingenious methods readers have devised over the centuries for storing their books: "in cabinets beneath the desks, on shelves in front of them, in triangular attic-like spaces formed under the back-to-back sloped surfaces of desktops or small tabletop lecterns that rested upon a horizontal surface." Placing books vertically on shelves, spines facing outward, is a fairly recent invention, it would seem. Well written as it is, if Book on the Bookshelf were only about books-as-furniture, it would have little appeal to the general reader. Petroski, however, uses this treatise on design to examine the very human motivations that lie behind it. From the example of Samuel Pepys, who refused to have more titles than his library could hold (about 3,000), to an appendix detailing all the ways people organize their collections (by sentimental value, by size, by color, and by price, to name a few of the more unconventional methods), Petroski peppers his account with enough human interest to keep his audience reading from cover to cover. --Alix Wilber

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

Bibliographic Details

Title: The Book on the Bookshelf.
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
Publication Date: 1999
Binding: Hardcover

Top Search Results from the AbeBooks Marketplace

1.

Henry Petroski
Published by Knopf
ISBN 10: 0375406492 ISBN 13: 9780375406492
Used Hardcover Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Free Shipping Books
(Toledo, OH, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Knopf. Hardcover. Condition: GOOD. Spine creases, wear to binding and pages from reading. May contain limited notes, underlining or highlighting that does affect the text. Possible ex library copy, that’ll have the markings and stickers associated from the library. Accessories such as CD, codes, toys, may not be included. Seller Inventory # 2884772452

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy Used
US$ 3.63
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

2.

Henry Petroski
Published by Knopf
ISBN 10: 0375406492 ISBN 13: 9780375406492
Used Hardcover Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Pro Quo Books
(Hammond, IN, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Knopf. Hardcover. Condition: GOOD. Spine creases, wear to binding and pages from reading. May contain limited notes, underlining or highlighting that does affect the text. Possible ex library copy, that’ll have the markings and stickers associated from the library. Accessories such as CD, codes, toys, may not be included. Seller Inventory # 2885240375

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy Used
US$ 3.63
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

3.

Henry Petroski
Published by Knopf
ISBN 10: 0375406492 ISBN 13: 9780375406492
Used Hardcover Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
OwlsBooks
(Toledo, OH, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Knopf. Hardcover. Condition: GOOD. Spine creases, wear to binding and pages from reading. May contain limited notes, underlining or highlighting that does affect the text. Possible ex library copy, that’ll have the markings and stickers associated from the library. Accessories such as CD, codes, toys, may not be included. Seller Inventory # 2902847142

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy Used
US$ 3.63
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

4.

Henry Petroski
Published by Knopf
ISBN 10: 0375406492 ISBN 13: 9780375406492
Used Hardcover Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Free Shipping Books
(Toledo, OH, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Knopf. Hardcover. Condition: GOOD. Spine creases, wear to binding and pages from reading. May contain limited notes, underlining or highlighting that does affect the text. Possible ex library copy, that’ll have the markings and stickers associated from the library. Accessories such as CD, codes, toys, may not be included. Seller Inventory # 2903065440

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy Used
US$ 3.63
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

5.

Henry Petroski
Published by Knopf
ISBN 10: 0375406492 ISBN 13: 9780375406492
Used Hardcover Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Discover Books
(Baltimore, MD, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Knopf. Hardcover. Condition: VERY GOOD. Light rubbing wear to cover, spine and page edges. Very minimal writing or notations in margins not affecting the text. Possible clean ex-library copy, with their stickers and or stamp(s). Seller Inventory # 2910164319

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy Used
US$ 3.63
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

6.

Henry Petroski
Published by Knopf
ISBN 10: 0375406492 ISBN 13: 9780375406492
Used Hardcover Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Hippo Books
(Toledo, OH, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Knopf. Hardcover. Condition: VERY GOOD. Light rubbing wear to cover, spine and page edges. Very minimal writing or notations in margins not affecting the text. Possible clean ex-library copy, with their stickers and or stamp(s). Seller Inventory # 2915055811

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy Used
US$ 3.63
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

7.

Henry Petroski
Published by Knopf
ISBN 10: 0375406492 ISBN 13: 9780375406492
Used Hardcover Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Bayside Books
(Livermore, CA, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Knopf. Hardcover. Condition: GOOD. Spine creases, wear to binding and pages from reading. May contain limited notes, underlining or highlighting that does affect the text. Possible ex library copy, that’ll have the markings and stickers associated from the library. Accessories such as CD, codes, toys, may not be included. Seller Inventory # 2916924821

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy Used
US$ 3.63
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

8.

Henry Petroski
Published by Knopf (1999)
ISBN 10: 0375406492 ISBN 13: 9780375406492
Used First Edition Quantity Available: 2
Seller:
Better World Books
(Mishawaka, IN, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Knopf, 1999. Condition: Very Good. 1st. Great condition for a used book! Minimal wear. Seller Inventory # GRP3087660

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy Used
US$ 3.64
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

9.

Henry Petroski
Published by Knopf (1999)
ISBN 10: 0375406492 ISBN 13: 9780375406492
Used First Edition Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Better World Books
(Mishawaka, IN, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Knopf, 1999. Condition: Very Good. 1st. Former Library book. Great condition for a used book! Minimal wear. Seller Inventory # GRP9488628

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy Used
US$ 3.64
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

10.

Henry Petroski
Published by Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
ISBN 10: 0375406492 ISBN 13: 9780375406492
Used Hardcover Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
ThriftBooks - Motor City
(Brownstown, MI, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Hardcover. Condition: Very Good. A copy that has been read, but remains in excellent condition. Pages are intact and are not marred by notes or highlighting, but may contain a neat previous owner name. The spine remains undamaged. At ThriftBooks, our motto is: Read More, Spend Less. Seller Inventory # G0375406492I4N00

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy Used
US$ 3.95
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

There are 76 more copies of this book

View all search results for this book