Before the IT and internet age, paper dominated communication, enabling the most advanced civilisations in the world to spread their ideas as never before. How did this happen and which ideas and civilisations profited from it? How did a technology invented in China more than two millennia ago end up reaching Europe and facilitating both the Renaissance and the Reformation despite most intellectuals of the day barely paying it any attention? And as we leave the paper age, will we leave paper behind? Or does it still have advantages over its digital rival? Former China journalist Alexander Monro considers these questions as he talks about his highly acclaimed book The Paper Trail, which has just been released in paperback.