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Why Digitization Will Never Take Over Printed Books

Books offer experiences unreplaceable by anything. PHOTO/ Pixabay

By Edmund Zhen

Published: May 15th, 2019

In the contemporary era where everything seems to be succumbing to digitization, there is one who still holds resistance against it. Printed books.

One would consider that a shocking thing to say since books were among the first to be digitized, but that’s not entirely what I meant. Even though almost all books have a digitized version, printed books will never be an obsolete thing for mankind unlike in 30 to 40 years, cassette tapes, vinyl players, or even CD’s will be erased. Unlike those, books offer experiences unreplaceable by anything.

Nothing can ever replace the visceral feeling of running your fingers down the edges, the sounds of rustling papers and the soft thud as it lands on top of each other. It has the nullifying effect to block off noises around you and immerse you in its world. It’s an escape from the digital world that leads you into a world of fantasy, history, and experiences. It can also be the perfect gift to others as it is never constrained by battery percentages, Wi-Fi/network connections, or laggy phones. Being a tangible object and regardless of its age, it retains an unrivaled sensorial feeling and revitalizes unique recollections; the good old times, a work of craftsmanship in its structure, or, the nostalgia offered by children’s books or fairy tales.

Joe Queenan, a writer for Wall Street Journal experiences it the same way. “People who need to possess the physical copy of a book, not merely an electronic version, believe that the objects themselves are sacred. Some people may find this attitude baffling, arguing that books are merely objects that take up space. This is true, but so are Prague and your kids and the Sistine Chapel.” Printed books also do more than just tell us a story; they help a lot with our self-expression. It is like what American novelist Walter Mosley said, “a man’s bookcase will tell you everything that you’ll ever need to know about him.” It is a completely different thing seeing someone read “Fahrenheit 451” than seeing someone who is reading Stephenie Meyer’s vampire romance novel “Twilight.” It’s not enough to just read the story, it has to surround us and be shown off to the world as another way to express who we are.

That said, here are some of my personal favorites:

Airborne and Skywalker by Kenneth Oppel
Sons and Lovers by D.H Lawerence,
12 Rules For Life by Jordan Peterson
How to Win Friends and Gain Influence by Dale Carnegie,
Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki,
Siddhartha by Herman Hesse
Mere Christianity by C.S Lewis.

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