Article by Matt Greenfield, originally posted to the Huffington Post (link below):
Even in the age of the app, the word “book” still has a semi-magical resonance, an aura of intellectual energy. In a world where a formless chaos of texts, images, sounds, and video continually streams past us, a book has crystallized into a stable shape, a shape someone decided was worth preserving. One expects a book to have gone through some kind of process of selection and verification: it ought to conform to someone’s definition of accuracy, and it might even offer at least a tenuous, vestigial guarantee of wisdom.
“Text” is another powerful word. The word text comes from “textum,” the past participle of the Latin word for weaving, braiding, joining together, or making. A text is a fabric or web of ordered words. Many modern uses of the word “text” distinguish the text from other, less important words attached to it, such as notes, commentaries, appendices, translations, or paraphrases.
So what happens when we put these two powerful words together? Despite the resonance of its components, the compound word “textbook” has always sounded peculiar and awkward to me. Don’t both words mean more or less the same thing? Isn’t “textbook” redundant?