Digital Books Won’t Survive the Apocalypse

apocalypse-morgDue to problems with my sight, I read exclusively on an e-reader where I can crank up the font size. Using this device made me start thinking about how, in our current age, books are being created digitally with no print version ever existing. That may not seem like a big deal until you really start thinking about it.

It’s almost a certainty, or at least a good probability, that at some point something major is going to happen to the Earth. Either war, mass natural disaster, zombies or something. The world will be a mess. The power will go out. It will be a long bloody time before we have electricity and technology again. When that happens, what happens to all those digital-only books?

What happens is they’re gone. Maybe there are backups out there, and maybe they can be preserved, maybe they can’t. The thing is, they won’t do anyone any good until there’s power again. No one can read them. Print copies of books will be all we have to keep us company by the firelight as we rebuild society.

So I got to thinking: Why isn’t there some “Great Library” out there? Maybe more than one just to be safe? Somewhere that houses print copies of every book out there. Yes, I know that’s millions of books. The thing is, if there is no print version stored safely away, the content may be lost forever. Many modern books that may be great works could be gone and never recovered.

This extends to a lot more digital content. There are blogs and websites with useful, entertaining or otherwise important content. If there’s a WWIII or zombie apocalypse, do you think your blog host is going to give a flip about saving your work? Not likely. Maybe we should start printing and safely storing copies so it’s not gone forever.

It may seem crazy, but it is worth thinking about. Print is dying, but it has it’s value. Hard copy can stand the test of time better than any hard drive.

Image: Public Domain, Morguefile

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