Old Ways

1 min read

Editor’s note: Originally posted by Last Redoubt at https://lastredoubt.substack.com/p/old-ways

Paper has a lot of problems. It’s bulky. It catches fire. More to the point, if I want to send something on paper to Japan, it can cost a pretty penny – for whatever those are worth today.

Yet I find myself buying physical copies of things – even things that I have backed up from Kindle to EPUB if I truly care about it and backed p yet again offsite – because paper, and physical media in general, has several advantages.

First there’s the spiritual, emotional, immaterial and even practical aspects of using physical media. Sure, I can search a PDF for every instance of a word, or follow a well-placed link in the table of contents, and zoom – but when I need something to the side as a reference and I don’t have my two or three monitor setup at hand, a physical book copy I can keep open, and flip back and forth between relevant pages, starts to make sense.

I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve stacked up my tabbed ACKs or Traveller books on my desk as a reference despite a second screen and PDF copy open.

There is also the fact that a book has weight, texture, smell. It just needs a source of light, no battery that needs charging. It won’t white out in the sun or be lost in the glare. And yes, some of these are addressed or mitigated in some reader designs. Sure, if I go on vacation, I’ll have a tablet or phone loaded with a number of books I’m reading, and I usually do bring a paperback as well. But for sitting in a comfy chair with a cup of coffee or tea at hand on a stormy night?

Read the rest at Last Redoubt’s Substack.

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