Old School Meets eBooks

It’s true. I started out with hot lead. Editor of the Sembach Jet Gazette at Sembach Air Force Base in Germany, 1958-60. a twice-monthly paper, it was printed in Kaiserslautern using linotype machines, hot lead made into slugs, then stacked by hand in trays for the presses. I loved going in for press checks. It was medeival.

   Next came the IBM Composer (have I gone through this before? Well, if you insist…) It was a $10,000 “selectric” typewriter with those ball fonts. To go from Roman to Italic, you manually replaced one font with another. It had a 3000-bit memory. It was used by newspapers for maybe 10 years (as well as by the Whole Earth Catalog and our first 20 or so books). Pages assembled (pasted up) by hand for printers.

Then along came the Mac. And cut to…

eBooks. I was listening to some very sharp people discussing the new eWorld, 300% growth for eBooks, looking like another 300% growth this year — whew!

Well, what can a poor boy do? (Except to sing for a rock ‘n roll band…)

I’m listening to all the dire news for physical books, and the rosy future of eBooks, and thinking about the book we just finished, after 2 years’ work. We keep looking at the few advance copies we have here, and it looks SO good. A lot of this due to Paramount Printers. The paper is high quality (and FSC etc.), it’s got a sparkle. The builders come alive.

It’s a journey you hold in your hand, a physical presence, a work of art. It’s a a real …book!

About Lloyd Kahn

Lloyd Kahn started building his own home in the early '60s and went on to publish books showing homeowners how they could build their own homes with their own hands. He got his start in publishing by working as the shelter editor of the Whole Earth Catalog with Stewart Brand in the late '60s. He has since authored six highly-graphic books on homemade building, all of which are interrelated. The books, "The Shelter Library Of Building Books," include Shelter, Shelter II (1978), Home Work (2004), Builders of the Pacific Coast (2008), Tiny Homes (2012), and Tiny Homes on the Move (2014). Lloyd operates from Northern California studio built of recycled lumber, set in the midst of a vegetable garden, and hooked into the world via five Mac computers. You can check out videos (one with over 450,000 views) on Lloyd by doing a search on YouTube:

7 Responses to Old School Meets eBooks

  1. Lloyd, all your books are so beautiful. I have the whole collection. My Kindle or iPad based books are no match at all to the experience of reading a real book. But for some of us with a huge library and a tiny house, eBooks are very convenient, especially while traveling. And I worry less about dust and fungus. These days I buy physical copies only if a book is not available in an eBook form.

  2. Advertising and Marketing by the ebook people. Books will never go away. The world stumbling like dinosaurs in the dust. You are on the right track. Stick with what works. At present ebooks are unsustainable.


    And on a side note are you on the same page as Stewart Brand in reference to nuclear engery will sustain us? Shame on him.

  3. your real book is like the real houses and real stories inside. there's a lot of folks, old and young, inspired by simple honest buildings and art.

  4. This looks like a beautiful book, though I will no longer buy physical books. If you someday make your books available in epub format, or available on the kindle (non apple user here), I'm first in line.

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