What we can learn from books in the digital age
Keywords:paper, ink, materiality, print, sustainability, recycling, media revolution
Though books are often considered “old media” in the digital age, their production in this period in fact has been continually reimagined and redefined through new technologies of printing, especially paper and ink manufacturing. This paper explores how three specific recent printed books demonstrate this point in both form and content: David Brower’s Let the Mountains Talk, Let the Rivers Run (1995), William McDonough and Michael Braungart’s Cradle to Cradle (2002), and the 2008 Harper-Collins Green Bible. Brower’s book was printed on paper made from kenaf, a sustainable alternative to wood-based paper. Cradle to Cradle was printed on a synthetic polymer that could be endlessly remade into other products. The Green Bible was printed on recycled paper and used soy-based ink, and all verses with environmental content were printed in green. In each case, in form these printed books were meant to model innovative industrial information production while also through their content to motivate enhanced environmental consciousness.
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Copyright (c) 2023 Michael Stamm
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