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Why Printed Books Matter and Why

E-Books Can’t Take Their Place

Books matter! And books and e-books are not the same. During the coronavirus period of 2020, libraries closed their buildings to stop lending physical books, but kept open digital portals for downloading e-books. Peter Zelinski wrote this e-book in response, concerned that this development by libraries would help advance the false idea that books and e-books are interchangeable. They are not, and his argument for why physical books are irreplaceable touches on the personal experience of books and the historical adoption of the codex format we think of as a book today. Drawing the distinction that physical books and e-books are different media serving readers and serving authors’ works in different ways, this e-book argues for recognizing physical books as the greatest resource we have for experiencing worthy ideas and for conveying ideas across cultures and centuries.