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A Brief History
of Reading

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A Brief History of Reading

- or -
 Why the World Needs 
A Good Pocket Book Stand

In the Beginning . . .n the beginning was the scroll, but then someone had a bright idea and lo, there was brought forth the book, and people read books, and saw that they were a lot easier to read than scrolls.

 
Free Your Hands!

Some Other Nice Things You Could Buy For About the Same Price As a BookGem:
 

half of a hardback book
a big one might actually stay open all by itself 

a cheap pair of reading glasses
at least your eyes won't get so tired

1/5 of a visit to the chiropractor 

a big bottle of ibuprofen 
works great on aching wrists and a stiff neck

13 common bricks
another object that can be used to hold a book open

a 3/8" thick piece of plate glass 
more transparent than a brick but don't let it slide off the book and hit you in the foot  

a paperback book 

- might we suggest: 

 
 Little Things Can Make
All the Difference
by Vishnu P. I. Dahliwan

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
and Its Prevention
by Sharon M. Geronthan

Avoiding Stress
by Dr. Daniel Werenstein

Simple Solutions To 
Age Old Problems
by Robert L. McMuffry Ph.D.


Why Didn't They 
Think of This Before?
by Louise V. Trobeck

 

BookGem
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The World's Best Little Book HolderTM


Later, about the eighth century A.D., paper and the wood block printing press were developed in China. A few hundred years after that a clever guy named Gutenberg invented moveable metal type, and things really started to take off. Books could be printed by the oxcart load. 

Of course this was still the Middle Ages, and reading was not yet a widespread phenomenon. So, at this point, there was still very little demand for a good pocket book holder. In fact, pockets were not yet a widespread phenomenon either.

But soon a couple of more centuries had whizzed by, and before you knew it literacy was starting to catch up with milking cows and beating plowshares into swords on the list of desirable skills.

More widespread books helped to bring about neat things like the Renaissance and the Enlightenment and democracy and personal hygiene. 

However, for one reason or another, there still wasn't much action in the pocket book holder department.
Considering that pockets finally appeared only in the late 1500's (no kidding), it shouldn't be surprising that mass-produced injection-molded plastics hadn't even been imagined yet, much less invented. Moreover, books in the old days tended to stay open all by themselves! Up until the last hundred and fifty years or so, books remained luxury items of the upper classes, well made, bound in fine leather, even embossed in gold leaf. One advantage of these nicely bound volumes was that they had nice flexible spines which allowed the pages to remain open. Scholarly people who pored over their books for hours sometimes propped their open books up on other books or inclined boards to make them a little easier to read.

Thomas Jefferson was one such intellectual and wealthy lover of books. This voracious reader and admitted sufferer of "Bibliomanie" went so far as to invent a sort of "lazy susan" spinning book stand, so he could refer to four books at a time, each one inclined to the ideal viewing angle. You can still find related "inclined board" devices for sale today if you keep your eyes open, primitive though they are. (Sorry, Tom.)  

But then something revolutionary happened
 - the paperback book.

Yes, the paperback - easy to manufacture, cheap, and portable, this development made books affordable to many more people. 

Unfortunately, the paperback also happened to be a kind of book that simply would not stay open by itself. The stiff glued spine forced the reader to constantly hold the book open, generally using both hands.
 

  One possible reason TV has 
      eclipsed the book in popularity - 

   a TV will stand up
         all by itself!

Imagine for a moment that you had to hold your television up the whole time you were watching it. (The average American might actually read a little more if that were the case - at least books are lighter than tv's.) One might wonder also if the laptop computer would have become quite so popular if the screen snapped shut unless you held it up constantly with both hands. 

And yet, ever since the advent of the little paperback book, millions of people have had little choice but to read for hours and hours at a stretch, the whole time having to hold the book up with both hands.

Might as well be wearing handcuffs!


Law enforcement agents employ devices that are very similar in many respects to a paperback book. 


 But the problem doesn't lie exclusively with paperbacks. Most of todays small to medium sized hardback books, especially when new, won't stay open either, and even if the reader folds the pages all the way over and creases the spine and manages to get the pages to stay open, the book either sits flat on a table or has to be held up where it can be seen. 

To this day, only the finest large hardback books, like dictionaries and textbooks, will stay open to the page desired. 

In sum, after five or ten thousand years of reading, and about fifteen hundred years of books, the market for a good inexpensive folding pocket book holder has finally matured.

Let's Do A Little Math
 

- The average student who completes 12 years of schooling and another four years of college, reading an average of three hours a day for eight months of the year, will have spent a total of just over 11,500 hours reading. 
- If someone reads for only half an hour a day throughout an average adult life span, this would be another 10,000 hours or so. 
- A lifelong avid reader (two hours a day) could spend upwards of fifty thousand hours reading.
- If a BookGem were used for this period of time, it would make reading more comfortable at the cost of about 5/100 of a cent per hour. 

    - Isn't that just about priceless?
   

BOOKGEM   -   IT'S GOOD TO LIVE
IN THE 21st CENTURY 



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