Print Books: On The Verge of Extinction

Books, actual print books, seem to be out of fashion.  Someone said their demise was overdue.

Hold it! We are talking about books which for centuries provided people, especially children, a road into other times and places, a wealth of information, alternate realities and pure fantasies.

Has the death of the printed book been exaggerated? This article from The Saturday Evening Post would confirm that the printed book cannot be resituated.

Bibliophiles may be lovers of books and some may collect them.  For me books are not just possessions they are friends, and I have a lot of friends.  My eclectic collections cover a wide range of topics.

For example: Jacob Bronowski The Ascent of Man is a 1973 edition which I have and which I have read thoroughly. As I hold these 448 pages of print, pictures, and drawings, I am reminded of the human struggle to survive at times on a hostile planet and the dark angels of our nature.  Humanity progress to 2011 has not been an easy trek on this planet traversing the cosmos.

My 1915 edition of The Rise Of English Literary Prose is a treasure of 553 pages. In four years it will reach its 100th birthday.  There is something a bit mystical in holding in your hands a book almost a century old.

As stated, I collect all sorts of books.  I have an old hymnal from 1908 called Christ In Song which I picked up for $4 in a used book rack at a bookstore.  It has a number of great hymns forgotten in the mists of time. Of course, old hymn books represent a period of history where life was simpler, and it was easier to believe the words printed on the page.  Perhaps, in 2011 we have lost a connection to those “good old days” of faith and belief.

I have an 1895 Select Orations of Marcus Tullius Cicero. This was given to me by a friend in college which makes this pocket size book of 179 pages even more precious.

Will the printed book become a rarity? All indications are pointing to this sad reality.

I am reminded of a scene from Star Trek: The Original Series—Court Marital. Samuel T. Cogley, an old fashioned lawyer, buried in law books in the 23rd Century had no interest in the computerization of books, precursor to the electronic media which surround us in 2011.  For him the books in his law library represented the best of what humans had achieved through the rule of law over the countless centuries.

Book publishers may cease to produce printed editions, but there will always be book readers and collectors on this ever changing orb.  I asked a fellow traveller who is just into his third decade of living on this planet about his book collection.  His answer was over 500 books with a few from the 1800s.  For this fellow traveller he enjoys holding in his hands a piece of history as well as the smell of age.

Why not do something different this year—find an old book and read it.  Your life will be enriched and share your experience with those around you.

In fact, on a Saturday night once a month invite fellow travelers over to your home and have a reading party.  However, keep the snacks non-greasy in order to protect the book pages.  You will be surprised what a rich experience will be shared by all.

G. D. Williams       © 2011

Star Trek: The Original Series— Court Marital

Samuel T. Coogley, Attorney At Law