The novelist and journalist Lev Grossman has written, recently, of the great virtues of the codex as compared with the scroll. One can easily jump to any point in the text, for instance to re-read a passage that one read half an hour ago. Although one religion of the book, Judaism, still sticks with the scroll, it is said that among reasons for the success of another religion, Christianity, was that they early went over to the codex.
Grossman's argument, for instance in the New York Times Book Review, is that with the e-book one is regressing to an earlier form of technology, less conducive to reading. With an e-book one doesn't—despite what the interface has you doing with your finger to get to the next part—turn the pages: one scrolls.
By contrast, the codex allows a deep reader to to navigate
the network of internal connections that exist within a single rich document like a novel. Indeed the codex isn't just another format; it's the one for which the novel is optimized (p. 13).
I heard Grossman talk, earlier this summer, at the Toronto Book Summit, and there he said that his father was beginning to suffer from dementia, but that his library was still intact. Lev could go in there, see the codex books arrayed on the shelves, pick one out and look at it's cover, and get the sense that here in this room was an externalized aspect of his father's mind.
Though the e-book is good for traveling, do we really want to give up the printed codex?
Lev Grossman (2011) From scroll to screen. New York Times Book Review Section, p. 13, 4 September.