Why Books are Important (any kind, any format)

Thanks to my constant social networking, I have found another awesome post about the thing I love, books.  The post artfully and directly explains what people have forgotten. The importance of books relies on its history. Books were created to document not only on the history of humans, but the dreams and hopes of humanity.

http://www.thebookdesigner.com/2012/02/two-reasons-why-books-matter/

The author of the blog uses two simple explanations for the value of books to people hundreds of years ago, and more urgently to the people of today. He focuses on the books that aren’t documenting history, but the human condition. Stories that propel the reader to reflect upon life because of the characters or the situations.

Books don’t just open you to an entertaining story, they open you to the realities of life that you either didn’t think of before or chose not to think about.  They force you to look at life differently although it isn’t always a conscious change. Sometimes, the effect a book has on your life doesn’t occur to you until days even months after.

More stunning than the  stories that make up the books is the development from simple oral tradition or word of mouth to print. Life before the printing press was difficult.  The few copies of a book were held by powerful religious or political people and as a regular person you had to trust their interpretation of those books because you probably didn’t read.

If you did read and get your hands on a copy of a book, it was awe inspiring. The work it took for someone to use ink and write word by word an entire copy of the original book was astounding. The dedication it took to use calligraphy and ornate drawings was shocking as you flipped through the thick, beautiful pages.  The author of the post describes this as he shows a picture of a page from a book printed in 1495. 1495? And it’s still intact for this person to have it placed on his wall! Now to us, printing millions of copies of a book or even the newspaper is taken for granted.

For the people to experience a book that only had one or two copies worldwide, it changed everything. No longer did you have to travel thousands of miles to read a new or important book. You could have it sent to all the major/minor cities for very cheap. But it wasn’t cheap quality. The quality of those books, the paper and the ink could outlast the people that wrote them. This is the center point of the post. That the quality of these old books is so magnificent that  it lasts for hundreds of years.

The fact that some of the first books ever printed can last more than the ones produced now is not a mystery. The type of materials used and the care taken to give a good quality product is something companies don’t abide by now. We make books the cheapest way we know how and that’s why the books won’t last very long.  The comments below the post invite you into an interesting world of people who prefer print, but also understand the use of electronic books. It may be a long shot, but we can appreciate print books and digital books as equal, important contributions to the magical invention called the book.

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