Books are not dead! Books printed on paper have their uses. Printed tomes, vs digital books, are more useful for archived knowledge since they don’t need a reader, and won’t go obsolete. In a thousand years you’ll still be able to read a book (if you learn old English), or just want to look at the pictures. In fact, books full of pictures and illustrations are still a little better today on paper than on screens. This won’t always be true, but for the moment, the large size of high res paper, and the immediate no-lag turning of pages mean that large format, heavily illustrated material is best viewed as ink printed on paper.
One of the most popular sections in the Cool Tools book (on paper) is the 6 pages of visual reference items. These are 50 or so seriously visual books that I recommend for designers, artists, and tinkerers as sources of ideas, tips, and inspiration. On paper they work great. The Cool Tools book itself is one of the best examples of the benefits of paper books — its wide horizon of multi-tasking items that optimize browsing could not be done on a small screen.
Another mode that is superior on paper is a how-to craft book that includes materials, or samples bound in it that can get you started. Sometimes a how-to book in paper offers an unusually handy binding that is better than a dainty screen. Pop-up books with their clever engineering only work in paper. Or an atlas with pull-out maps. I’ve also found that children sometimes prefer a picture book in paper so they can sensually turn the pages themselves. And finally, as good as the best retina screen is today in 2014, it cannot quite match a hardback graphic novel printed on nice paper whose illustrations pop better in ink than in pixels.
For all these reasons, there should be a place that recommends and introduces books that belong on paper. There wasn’t one, so we created it: Wink Books. Wink is a website similar to Cool Tools that recommends and reviews one remarkable paper book each weekday. The books will be curated by Cool Tools editor Mark Frauenfelder, former Craft editor Carla Sinclair, and myself. Each weekday we’ll scour our libraries, used bookstores, flea markets and Amazon for the most cool and unusual books on paper. We photograph sample pages from each book and supply the reasons why we find each one worth your while. Of course, we are always eager to hear your recommendations as well. If you know of a favorite book that works perfectly on paper, clue us in. We pay for suggestions used.
Check out your daily dose of paper here at Wink.