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The article dwells upon some peculiar features of the reading process in different times in the history of civilisations. These are manual writing, printing, and e-texts. The article gives a thorough description of these types of writing. Being scarce and unique, pre-printing epoch texts were directed at a small amount of literate readers. Then, printing arose mass distribution of books and literacy, as well as normative language development. Later, e-books became a core source of information in the epoch of electronic devices and the Internet. E-books and hypertexts, being still called books, have their special distinctive features that affect the modern reader. As is noticed, the number of words in the sentences decreases (sentences become shorter), sometimes the language norm is violated. Thus, the significance and peculiarity of the book is to be reconsidered in the sense of importance for the society and being a cultural phenomenon. E-books turn out to be doubtedly effective in comparison with printed books and their literacy impact on readers. In this aspect the authors of the article held a poll in the attempt to gather data about reading habits of the respondents aged 25-55. The poll showed some discrepancies in reading preferences. Claiming that the printed book should be used primarily in education and recreational activities, respondents still increase the usage of electronic resources due to their vast availability and compact character. That raises the question of e-book prevalence in the modern society. Being short and laconic, modern e-texts with their features described in the article tend to show resemblance to ancient manuscripts.

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