Re: Caching

Dave Long (
Mon, 01 Nov 1999 09:01:35 -0800

For a look at the days when "massive portable storage" referred to
leather-bound and enameled quartos rather than capacity, we can turn
to the discussion of books in Durant's _The Age of Faith_:

> Even simple books were a luxury. An ordinary volume cost between
> $160 and $200 in the currency of the United States of America in
> 1949. Bernard of Chartres, a leader in the twelfth-century revival
> of the ancient classics, left a library of only twenty-four volumes.
> Italy was richer than France, and its famous jurist, the elder
> Accursius, collected sixty-three books. We hear of a great Bible
> being sold for ten talents -- at least $10,000; of a missal
> exchanged for a vineyard; of two volumes of Priscian, the
> fifth-century grammarian, being paid for with a house and lot. The
> cost of books delayed the rise of a bookseller's trade till the
> twelfth century; then the university towns engaged men as
> stationarii and librarii to organize corps of copyists to
> transcribe[0] books for teachers and students; and these men sold
> copies to all who cared to pay. They seem never to have dreamed of
> paying a live author[1].

> Libraries, though small, were numerous. St. Benedict had ruled that
> every Benedictine monastery should have a library. ... Many cathedrals
> ... had substantial libraries; Canterbury had 5000 books in 1300. But
> this was exceptional; most libraries had less than a hundred; Cluny,
> one of the best, had 570 volumes. ... The student of today can
> hardly appreciate the literary wealth that city and college
> libraries lay freely at his feet.

Rohit realizes:
> for sale ever ... oh, wait, with such perfectly informed consumers,
> there won't be a mall to go to -- the profits aren't in it :-)

Bricks and mortar have advantages in latency, privacy, and scenery;
perhaps mall margins will survive perfectly informed consumers.


[0] some copyists' colophons:

> Explicit hoc totum; This completes the whole;
> Pro Christo da mihi potum. For Christ's sake give me a drink.

> Detur pro penna scriptori pulchra puella
> "For the [work of] the pen let the writer receive a beautiful girl."

[1] This would have been a subject dear to Durant's heart; he seems
to have had the leisure (schole) to research and write the eleven
volumes of The Story of Civilization due to The Story of Philosophy
having been a bestseller in the '20s.