In 3000 BCE, papyrus scrolls allowed people to preserve oral stories in writing. Then, about 2000 years ago, people figured out that they could fold a scroll up into a codex, or even produce individual sheets of paper that could be bound into a book.
Around 1439 CE, Gutenberg’s movable type printing allowed people to reproduce books for the masses.
By the late 1800s, paperbacks were finding themselves in the most remote locations of the world. Books were more available to the general public than ever, but these books were still written as though the stories within them were consistent, straightforward narratives–oral stories on paper.
Meanwhile, new types of media were being invented. In the 1900s, the first records were released. Among them was a recording of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite, released by Odeon Records. It was a re-creation of a live performance, similar to how books were re-creations of oral stories.
In 1966, the Beatles decided they didn’t want to play live shows anymore, so they produced Revolver, the first popular album not intended to be a re-creation of a live performance. Thus, in a few short decades, the medium was reinvented. The Beatles used the process of creating the medium, as well as the limits and benefits of the medium to produce their art (for example, they recorded instruments backward to produce a sound that couldn’t be reproduced live, unless you’re a time-traveling musician).
In 2010, the vast majority of books are still, in essence, a re-creation of a consistent narrative that could just as well be an oral story.
The book weeps, for it desires to be reinvented.