The Responsibility of Print

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I have a thing for books in print.

Sure I have a Kindle. Sure I read ebooks in various forms. But most of the time, I order books in print.

Sure there’s the practical reasons. No technical glitches. No screen problems. I can read it in the bathtub without worrying about dropping several hundred dollars of technology into the bathwater. A book on paper doesn’t crash during an update.

But there are other reasons.

First, a paper book can last. Updates don’t destroy it. A pulled publication doesn’t make it vanish off of your device. Compatibility issues don’t arise. A paper book may be vulnerable to the ravages of time, but less so the ravages of technology.

Secondly, a paper book can be given away. You can gift it and regift it. You can lend it with ease. A paper book can pass through many hands easily, imparting its wisdom and humor and thrills and dread.

Third, a paper book is easy to use as a historical record. Put it on the proper shelf. Gift it to a library or a little free library. Wrap it in proper storage materials and hide it for the centuries to come (which history has many records of).

Paper has many advantages, many benefits. But for me, the solidity and the sense of history matters to me. I want good things to last and be beyond the whims of our current age.

So for me many a paper volume passes through my hands. Then passes on.

Steven Savage