Another Thing I Picked Up at the Paper Show

That sounds wrong. Yes I picked up lots of paper, but I’m about to tell you about a conversation I had with two gentlemen and I neither picked them up nor picked them up.

The company they represent produces paper that many book publishers use, so you know my whole body perked up like a tuning fork when they said that. We talked about how many publishers have started using a lower quality paper in their books, and how that means books won’t have the shelf-life they used to. As I understand it, some of this is a result of e-readers playing a larger role in publishing, but some of it is plain old economics.

These gentlemen told me about a couple women in their company who’ve started a blog to protest this lesser-quality paper. That blog? Gutenberg Girls. How cool is that?

(Unless you’re for saving trees, etc, in which case I do understand that side of the argument. No, I couldn’t be more wishy-washy.)

They also have a website called Permanence Matters that states “Digital spreads the written word. Permanent paper preserves it.” It’s worth checking out.

Which way do you lean in the paper vs digital argument?

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10 Responses

  1. As a consumer and producer of content, I’d agree that both have their merits. The permanence question is a good one. As someone once said, when the lights go off, who will you be dancing with? Could you imagine if a glorious new document was published that revealed the secrets of belief, overshadowing all religion and revealing truths and facts unknown in human kind that would unlock the world community to happiness and fulfillment — and the only copy was on a DRM protected Kindle with no recharging cable or password? Yet, TMZ has incredible merit in a medium that’s measured in lights in a ‘1’ and ‘0’ position; there and gone like water sliding over hot teflon.

    • Yeah, that’s the reason going purely digital worries me. There’s no permanence.

  2. I’m getting so effing sick of this whole argument. Yes, e-readers are getting more popular but when your best friend of 30 years says she’s “waiting for print” before buying your book – you know there is just no swaying some people – no matter what. They can say how great it is all they want. I may cave just because I want some friends books that will only be e. The only argument there is – I’m now spending $139 that I shouldn’t have to.

    • I definitely agree with you (and didn’t mean to make it an argument). I’m mainly concerned with the quality they’re putting into the books that ARE print. It seems like if they’re restricting more books to purely digital they should keep the quality for those in paper.

  3. It’s an easy choice for me, because I’m allergic to paper. Just yesterday I had to study from a print book all day, and it was high quality paper, and still I had to use my inhaler.

    I did buy a book this last year, a translation of Les Miserables that I liked, but it fell apart in months. That irritated me!

    • I would have a really hard time with that. I’m so curious what it is in the paper that you have a problem with.

  4. I go back and forth on this. I live near paper mills. They are stinky and dump junk in the water all the time. Bleh! But electronic gadgets eventually end up polluting the water and soil in other countries where they are “recycled”. The best thing to do is buy used books, or head to the library, but that means less moola for publishers. So here is my compromise for 2011. I will get an e- reader, use it for as long as possible (many years). Hand it down to my children when I am ready for an upgrade, and eventually donate it. ( or store it until recycling isn’t harmful to the environment). IF I have downloaded a book that I absolutely love and will read it over and over again, (and it is written by you and I want you to sign it) then I will buy the printed version.

    • That seems like a good plan to me. And one I’ll probably follow if I ever get an e-reader. I’ve somehow become a non-tech techy person. I know all about the gadgets but own NOTHING.

  5. As the financial manager for a magazine publishing company, I certainly understand both sides of the argument. But old-fashioned as it may be, when I read a book I want to hold it in my hands and turn the pages. I spend too many hours each day staring at a computer screen. When it’s time to sit down and read, I want to pick up a real book. And pass it on to someone when I’ve finished it.

    • Pam, I agree wholeheartedly. I love holding the pages in my hand. The Kindle looks cool, don’t get me wrong (we have several floating around the house but I’ve yet to use one) but I love feeling the pages between my fingers.

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