Recently, Daniel Okrent (editor-at-large, Time inc.) predicted an imminent "Death Of Print". Co-founder of Netscape, Marc Andreesen, claim the same for printed news in a TV interview. In the same vein, Pentax USA claims that their online gallery is "the next step" up the evolutionary chain from the Pentax Photo Annuals produced by the Japanese fan club "Pentax Family" (and their Swiss branch office). Similar sentiments reverberates through the blogspace too, leaving advocates of paper looking like luddites.
In this respect the Pentax Discussion Mailing List (PDML) must be a true forum for luddites, suddenly scrambling together to produce, yes, a printed photo annual. Implicit in the title is even a threat to make it a tradition.
One blogging member from PDML, Tim Bray, calls himself "bookish", but still anticipates the printed book's future as coffee-table ornaments and collectibles.
What strikes me is that most people seem sad to let go. Mr. Okrent cherish the smells and the feeling of flipping through pages, and the smoothness of touch to a well-done hardcover. The PDML is all oohs and aahs over their recently received copies, produced by Blurb in USA and transported to all corners of the world in less than a fortnight. Tim Bray states that "this [the PDML annual] could only have been done on paper".
I think he is right. For the moment.
And while this is true, the PDML Annual is a damn fine little book. And all for the benefit of child cancer research.
Grab it before the paper mills of the world file for bankruptcy protection. Or before oil shortage prevents efficient distribution. It's definately worth its payload of carbon dioxide emissions. Let it kindle your inspiration in a way that the Amazon Reader can not.