"It's so small."
"But it has eighteen hundred pages. You press the edge - thus, and so.. and the charge moves ahead one page at a time as you read. Never touch the actual pages with your fingers. The filament tissue is too delicate". He closed the book, handed it to Paul. "Try it."
I don't really have anything meaningful to contribute, this just so very much put me in mind of Dr. Yueh's gift to Paul Atreides at the beginning of Dune. A kind of retro-futurism, where the imagination can't conceive entire new forms of things, and so just tries its best to figure out what a faster horse looks like (granted, in this particular instance, there are other reasons). I wonder what books for a creature with three arms would look like.
It really is a fantastic series. The first book is amazing and stands on its own, but it really is rewarding to read the entire series (that Frank Herbert wrote, not the new crap his son puts out).
Perhaps the point was, the book aesthetic was important to the character.
> I wonder what books for a creature with three arms would look like.
Indeed, the book was probably designed for space travel, i.e. usable outside human limits. Perhaps, given the proper circumstances, the book would propel itself through the vacuum of space by way of induced charge ..
In the later books, shigawire is also mentioned as a data storage method, so I don't think it was a lack of imagination.
“It’s certainly pre-Empire,” said Seldon, “but not entirely so. Have you ever seen a print-book?”
“Considering that I’m a historian? Of course, Hari.”
“Ah, but like this one?”
He handed over the Book and Dors, smiling, opened it–then turned to another page–then flipped the pages. “Its blank,” she said.
“It appears to be blank. The Mycogenians are stubbornly primitivistic, but not entirely so. They will keep to the essence of the primitive, but have no objection to using modern technology to modify it for convenience’s sake. Who knows?”
“Maybe so, Hari, but I don’t understand what you’re saying.”
“The pages aren’t blank, they’re covered with microprint. Here, give it back. If I press this little nubbin on the inner edge of the cover–Look!”
The page to which the book lay open was suddenly covered with lines of print that rolled slowly upward.
Seldon said, “You can adjust the rate of upward movement to match your reading speed by slightly twisting the nubbin one way or the other. When the lines of print reach their upward limit when you reach the bottom line, that is–they snap downward and turn off. You turn to the next page and continue.”
“Where does the energy come from that does all this?”
“It has an enclosed microfusion battery that lasts the life of the
“Then when it runs down–”
“You discard the book, which you may be required to do even before it runs down, given wear and tear, and get another copy. You never replace the battery.”