Choices and values

by Paul Burmeister

Every exchange involves something gained and something lost, and many of our choices are expressions of our values—what are we willing to lose in order to gain?
Printing, which was a revolution in mass communication, offered many well-documented gains. Would only a privileged, sensualist elite pause to rue the revolution's losses? A handmade book will always be more intimate and pleasurable than a printed one, but who has access—economically and aesthetically—to such a beautiful object? Only a well-educated and sophisticated person, often a collector, places appropriate value on a limited edition or letterpress book, right?

What is interesting in our time, shortly after another revolution in mass communication (the internet), is the revival of niche publishing, used bookstores, and vinyl recordings. There is something more than nostalgia at work here.