[LMB] why we still need paper books

Katherine Collett kcollett at hamilton.edu
Thu Sep 22 13:32:05 BST 2011

On Sep 21, 2011, at 11:08 PM, Elizabeth Holden wrote:

> The bulk of things written on paper may last a few years or a few centuries, depending on the care they're given.  But how many books do we have still existing, intact and readable, after two hundred years?  That's about the point, in my experience, where a book is housed in a climate-controlled archive and has to be read with gloves.  Vellum and papyrus last longer, but still need special conditions.
> Print is lost all the time.  Paperbacks printed on cheap paper in the 1940s are disintegrating.  My Penguin books from the 1960s and 1970s are brittle and frail.  They won't last another generation.

Yes, but the books printed on non-acidic paper in the 18th and 19th centuries are perfectly fine.  I'm displaying some from my college's archives today that belonged to Samuel Kirkland when he came to this area in the 1760s.  Books from the first days of printing still exist and are in better condition than the ones printed in the past century on acidic paper.  I notice that a lot of hardcover books are being printed on acid-free paper these days.


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