I love books. I took a bookmaking course last summer so I could learn how to make them by hand. I’m one of those weird people who will secretly smell a book before I buy it, and I admit that I’m sometimes more willing to read a mediocre story in a well-made book, than a good story in an ugly package, just for the satisfaction I get from holding and feeling a nice book (though a great story can transcend packaging).
That said, I’m also pretty excited about the prospects of digital publishing. In my opinion, printed books will never die, but I do think that in the future publishers might print fewer books on paper – and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Craig Mod’s essay ‘Books in the age of the iPad’ articulates this much better than I can. He makes a compelling argument about the promise of the iPad, and what I think is most interesting is his vision for the future of the printed book:
“I propose the following to be considered whenever we think of printing a book:
- The Books We Make embrace their physicality — working in concert with the content to illuminate the narrative.
- The Books We Make are confident in form and usage of material.
- The Books We Make exploit the advantages of print.
- The Books We Make are built to last.
The result of this is:
- The Books We Make will feel whole and solid in the hands.
- The Books We Make will smell like now forgotten, far away libraries.
- The Books We Make will be something of which even our children — who have fully embraced all things digital — will understand the worth.
- The Books We Make will always remind people that the printed book can be a sculpture for thoughts and ideas.
Anything less than this will be stepped over and promptly forgotten in the digital march forward.
Goodbye disposable books.
Hello new canvases.“
I highly recommend the entire essay, it has a lot of interesting ideas.
The video above is from the UK branch of Dorling Kindersley Books.