From the Middle Ages until sometime after 1750, men read intensively. They had only a few books - the Bible, an almanac, a devotional work or two - and they read them over and over again, usually aloud and in groups, so that a narrow range of traditional literature became deeply impressed on their consciousness. By 1809 men were reading extensively. They read all kinds of material, especially periodicals and newspapers, and read it only once, and then raced on to the next item.
- from the Gutenberg Elegies by Sven Birkerts