Two Reasons Why Books Matter

POSTED ON Feb 2, 2012

Joel Friedlander

Written by Joel Friedlander

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Reason #1 Why Books Matter

From a review on Goodreads for The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, reviewed by Erica M. Chapman:

How do I rate a book like this? A book that burrowed into my soul and made a home, tore it down, rearranged the pieces. There are some books that just affect you. Besides making you think, they make you wonder and ask questions and contemplate the universe and our reason for living.

Reason #2 Why Books Matter

book designI have this hanging next to my desk.

It’s an incunable, a printed page from the infancy of printing, before 1500. Gutenberg established his press around 1451, and this page is from 1495.

The page is from a religious text by St. Gregorius Magnus, Moralia Divi Gregorii omni eru ditione sacraru scriptua. It was printed in Paris by Ulrich Gering and Bertholdus Rembolt.

(The image at the top of the post shows a detail of the type used in the book.)

Just the fact that this new technology of printing was able to travel so quickly to all the capitals of Europe is pretty amazing. What’s equally amazing is that it’s still in good shape 517 years later.

That’s partly due to the “paper” that was used then. It was made from cotton and linen, not from pulped trees. It’s also because it’s from an era well before there was much man-made pollution.

This page shows that books matter, not just because they move, educate or entertain us—but because they last a really long time. This page, and the book it came from, has outlived its creators by centuries.

How long will your books live and speak to readers? We can’t know that with any certainty, but there is something we can do that will help: we can make the best books we can make.

Because books matter.

Joel Friedlander

Written by
Joel Friedlander

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