Pre-Archaic Industrial Jargon

Charles C Doyle cdoyle at UGA.EDU
Tue Mar 13 14:42:46 UTC 2012

More than once recently, I have heard "physical" books (or "hard-copy books," or "paper-and-ink books" or "non-e-books") jocularly referred to as "brick-and-mortar books."  It's hard to Google the term, because the sequence "brick and mortar book store" gets included.


From: American Dialect Society [ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] on behalf of Ronald Butters [ronbutters at AOL.COM]
Sent: Monday, March 12, 2012 11:07 AM
Subject: Re: Pre-Archaic Industrial Jargon

So an address book is still an address book; all that is different is =
how the information in it is stored.

It seems misleading to say that Amazon is attempting to "shift the =
semantics of the term "book"--they are just responding to the subreption =
that has already taken place. Remember that a book was once far =
different from the bound volumes that the term came to be used for in =
the modern era. (And, for my grandfather, a magazine was also a book, =
though that seems somewhat anachronistic to me today.)
An "album" of musical recordings downloaded to an iPod is still an =
"album," even if it is not a thing made of vinyl. On the other hand, =
referring to it as a "record" seems as anachronistic as it would be to =
refer to a computer as a typewriter.

On Mar 12, 2012, at 10:20 AM, Garson O'Toole wrote:

> I think "address book" has been redefined by some users to correspond
> to an electronic database of addresses and other information. This
> switch began years ago. Perhaps it was triggered by the "address book"
> designation used in email programs.
> The advertising copy at for the Kindle reader attempts to
> shift the semantics of the term "book" so that it refers to what was
> recently called an "electronic book", "e-book", or "ebook". More
> precisely, the text attempts to shift the definition of "book" so that
> it corresponds to a proprietary Kindle-formatted electronic book.

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