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Celebrating p books

November 26, 2011

Remember a time, not so very long ago, when you didn’t have to say “p book” to make it clear you were talking about a printed book?

Though my son tells me I’m strange and he’s never heard anyone call them “p books”. So perhaps there’s hope for us all yet: A book is a book, no matter its form.

Regardless, this post is a celebration of why a book in its physical form is an efficient, attractive, enduring technology. Here are three reasons why:

1. It’s a thrill to get a signed book from a writer you admire. To wit: read the recent Twitter post from LouiseMensch. She is the British novelist and Conservative Party MP whom you may have spotted questioning the Murdochs in the House of Commons Culture, Media & Sport Select Committee earlier this year—the one where the foam pie was thrown. She writes, “just discovered have been sent a signed book by my hero John Grisham – be still my beating heart!” And the image above shows my own signed copy of Alex Haley’s book, A Different Kind of Christmas. (I don’t care about the controversy surrounding the provenance of Haley’s blockbuster Roots: His was a significant voice at an important time and he was, besides, a kind and generous man.)

2. This video offers essential how-to instructions on using a book that come straight from the medieval help desk. Enjoy. Laugh. Share.

3. Tom Chivers of the UK’s Telegraph newspaper explains why he loves both print and ebooks.

So enough with the gloom, please, all you doomsayers among us devoting those precious column inches to predicting the downfall of the p book.  It’s a facile argument when based almost entirely on incomplete data or on corporate press releases or your feelings or fleeting impressions. Really, enough. (Though one shall always happily listen to a well-reasoned argument based on a true interrogation of the presented facts.)

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