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Thursday, September 9, 2010

Books and printing becoming obsolete?

Ariel made a wonderful comment on my last blog post, and it actually ties in with one of the blogs that I ended up looking at about printing. I went to the Los Angeles Times blog, and found this article about the Guttenberg Project, and digitalizing books.

Digitalizing books

To be quite blunt, I'm scared that physical books will become obsolete in the future. There is a special something about holding a physical book in your hands, and turning the pages. Maybe it's the finality that comes when you finish the book. Maybe it is the fact that the book doesn't glow. I don't know. I'd actually like to know what others think...

What do you prefer? Reading books off of a computer screen or a Kindle? Or reading a physical book?


  1. I prefer physical books. I like the smell of new or old pages, the excitement of turning pages, and the ability to write my thoughts in the margins. I love inheriting old books from family members and feeling that connection between us through a book. While the digital age has allowed literature to become personalized and universally accessible, I want to retain the sense of community that physical books give us.

  2. I also like physical books. Its nice to have a personal trophy once you've finished it. I think a lot of people prefer paper books. As long as they are in demand, I don't think we'll lose them. Though there is a big shift toward digital books. Have you ever used a Kindle? My mom loves hers and definitely prefers it over paper books, and she's an english teacher. They definitely are handy, even if its just not the same.

  3. While paper books will always be special, I've recently started to use digital books and it is SO convenient. I finished a book and immediately wanted to start the next one in the series and all I had tto do was download it- no trip to the bookstore or library. I don't want physical books to go away completely, but I'll definitely be switching for some things. Oh, and I'm commenting on your blog from my phone riding while in the car. :)

  4. For me, it depends. I generally prefer paper books -- I like being able to quickly page back and forth, finding connections between the different pages. I like discovering new books at a store by browsing through the shelves, as format and artwork catches my eye. I like seeing what someone else is reading by glancing at their desk.

    However, I've had digital books come in handy sometimes. If I have a few spare minutes, I can us the Stanza iPhone app to read a free book such as The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. I can use a scripture reading application to bookmark different scriptures, and found that to be a convenient way to recall a quote I want to use when giving a talk. I have not yet tried a Kindle, with its new type of screen, but I'm curious to see how that affects my judgement of which I prefer.

  5. I can see benefits to both physical and virtual books. I agree with you about the trophy aspect of physical books. My mother-in-law is one who writes what she learned (almost journal-entry like) in the back of every book she reads. It's a legacy to those who know her to be able to read how each book changed her.

    But is the value of great thoughts really tied to the form of the physical? Books were, after all, in scrolls before. . . why not move to scroll (as in computer scrolling) format once again? Why are we "scared" of physical books becoming obsolete?

  6. When it comes to online book printing, or print-on-demand companies, you have many options. While Lulu is probably the most famous POD company, there are countless others, and all operate in more or less the same way.

    Boston Book Printing