Not all books are created equal, but good books are a sound investment


Good books are sound investments in the final analysis. Besides their cultural and intellectual worth, print is the most efficient and durable long-term solution for data storage. Printed books need no special equipment to use, nor software or even electricity, and acid-free books will be usable in 500 years.


As we know, in the early to mid twentieth century, book paper was acidic, resulting in paper that became brittle and broke (but the bindings, as in the earlier centuries of books made with non-acidic rag paper, were sewn). Discovering the problem with acidic paper, the move was made to use "acid-free" paper. Great! But at the same time, the move was made away from sewn bindings to "perfect" glued bindings. The result? The paper may last for centuries, but the glue in the bindings will fail and we'll just have loose collections of paper! So if we really want and expect books to last for centuries, not only does the paper need to be "acid-free", the paper must be sewn together just as in days of old.