“In AD 1500, Europe was turning out about 200,000 volumes per year, while China had been producing about 800,000 a year for centuries: a million books, say 500 tons of paper. At the turn of the millennium, the world produced some ten billion books a year – about 50 million tons of paper, for books alone. Now add newspapers – 8,391 dailies as I write, and rising – and weekly and monthly magazines – 73,000 titles. In all, for communicating, the world produces about 130 million tons of paper a year – 50 pounds per person. In 500 years, when the world’s population has risen 13-fold, the literate population has risen 1,000-fold, and reading materials over 250,000 times, almost all the increase in this century. Per person, we consume almost 20,000 times as much as reading material as our medieval ancestors....This is a change so significant in human society that we should really declare ourselves to be a new sub-species: Homo sapiens literariensis.
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