Opinion » Letters

Physical books do survive



I write books (see williamseavey.com). And I collect books. Your piece (“Shelf awareness,” June 26) suggests that books should be dispensed with (even disposed of) just because they are taking up space.

My books mean more to me than most other objects around the house, even though I fully admit I have too many of them. I do weed them out from time to time. Donating them to libraries might be impractical, as they will just end up in book sales. (Books I’ve written have seen that fate.)

But I can see the “writing on the wall” (shelf?). Younger people than I am (I’m 67) do not have the sense of ownership my generation did, and everything is going to digital (but illustrated coffee table, children’s books, and tech manuals ought to survive). You do have to ask yourself, however, if digital formats will survive—and printed books kept in a cool space might well last a few hundred years.

Hey, I have a 100-year-old book about electric cars! So who’s to say that such knowledge becomes irrelevant to contemporary society?

I hope that some of my grandchildren will want some of my books—my collection of environmental tomes is pretty cool—including the late ’70s warnings about climate change and global warming.

-- William L. Seavey - Cambria

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