Everything has gone digital these days. From watches to flashlights and reading devices, we’ve turned to the smartphone to fulfill most of our basic needs. Even when reading something as simple as a book, we can access one digitally. The question remains: is there any use for traditional book printing?
The answer is yes. This is because the printed book will never die out.
Electronic books are becoming more and more popular by contrast, but the printed book will survive. Several companies that offer printing services in Utah and other areas still exist because of this. Quite obviously, the printed book may not remain as popular as it used to be. But it will survive, the same way the vinyl and the CD have survived the age of streaming. Nostalgia will keep it alive.
With physical books, you can hold them, run your fingers through their spines, and feel the indents of the letters on your fingertips. You can smell their distinctive aroma, which ranges from clean fresh-off-the-press smells to old-fashioned library musk. You can savor the spaces between the various kinds of typefaces, how the letters dance under your eyes as they try to garner your attention. You can marvel at the beauty of the fonts themselves, from the fancy curls to the casually formal serifs to the more modern sleek sans serifs.
There’s a greater fulfillment with the depth and thickness of the physical book itself. There is a triumph in watching the bookmark go near one cover to the other and realizing that you have finished reading something so thick in such an amount of time.
Physical books have character. These aren’t the characters you find coming to life in between the pages. No, the books themselves have personality, especially the old ones. Take a look at the effort that comes with producing a good physical book, such as the front cover, the back cover, the summary at the back, the author’s profile, and so on. The book is the work of not only the writer but also different professionals.
Electronic books follow the format of physical books by sandwiching the main text between images of both front and back covers. Physical books go through a lot, from conceptualization to publication to reaching your shelf. Sometimes, it takes generations of readers before landing on you. You might find an oddly beautiful bookmark in its pages, some vandalism, or some handwritten footnotes. Or you might even find a love letter tucked between the pages or tear stains that you might wonder about. You might even find a library card (which can be a digital device nowadays). Who knows? Maybe that library card will contain the signature of a famous writer.
Physical books are, overall, safer to the eyes. The subdued light of the room around you is better than even the modified screens of Kindles and Kobos. You aren’t even exposed to Bluelight, which can turn harmful if exposed for too long. The result of reading physical books is better sleeping patterns and longer dreams.
Physical books have stood the test of time for good reasons, and they will continue to do so. Although electronic books conserve paper and are more convenient to bring and access, there is still something special about physical ones. There’s an alluring, nostalgic charm to them that continues to make them attractive to readers all over the world.