What About the Books? Books in Post Peak Era

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Oli's picture
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Joined: Nov 25 2011
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What About the Books? Books in Post Peak Era


Looking ahead into the post-peak era one can't dismiss the possibility that the transition period will not be peaceful.


Crumbling of societal infrastructures, massive death as a result of inability to access the basic needs for life and chaos are all valid possibilities.


There are many threads discussing those possibilities, yet, I couldn't find a thread discussing with another aspect which, although less important, does deserve our attention:


What about the books?


With no electricity all digital forms of books (and data) will disappear.

Without law no one will guard the libraries from looters how will use books as a burning material for heat.


After the transition is over could humanity continue to manufacture books with pre-industrial methods?


What about all the books that would no longer be available to reproduce?


I do believe that some of humanity inheritance which books contain should find a way to pass down to our descendants.


What can we do today to promise that this inheritance will survive the transition?


I would suggest forming some library in which books will be kept in a durable form that won't attract the looters (microfiche?).


Which books should be included in such library? In which form should they be preserved? What is the safest place for such a library and how could it be funded?

FAlley's picture
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Joined: Nov 2 2010
Posts: 90
Historical context

An interesting concern; the preservation of knowledge. I'm glad you've thought to bring this up.

I don't believe we will see the 'loss' of electricity. I believe the genie of technology is out of the bottle, and will not disappear (atleast not in our lifetimes). I figure the internet will go on (though the event of an EMP, or some similar electronic catastrophe, might prove me wrong). If it didn't, then yes, the preservation of libraries would be very important.

There is historical precedent for this question; more than once the libraries of the world have been pillaged and lost to the future (our present). Simply look to the Protestant reformation for one example of Catholic texts being destroyed. I'd be happy to hear someone with knowledge tell us what the loss of information has looked like in past historical events.

Septimus's picture
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Joined: Aug 19 2008
Posts: 200
Hard copies of books, especially older ones

I agree that electricity will still be available in most scenarios. Hard copies and private digital copies on secure media that you own are necessary to assure the preservation of knowledge however.

Digital copies on the publicly available internet may not always be there and/or the copies available may not be exactly like the original

Many books not necessarily digitized that contain a lot of valuable information are routinely discarded from libraries. Thankfully it is currently possible to find these books, usually very cheaply, trough web sites such as abebooks and others.

For example, I recently picked up a bunch of books by Russell Kirk for about $5 each.

A lot of prior generations’ insight in all realms is in these books and is being lost to common knowledge or even awareness.


2OLD4OKEYDOKE's picture
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Joined: Mar 28 2011
Posts: 72
acid-free paper

If you want to preserve books, they'd best be printed on acid-free paper! (Most aren't.)

xraymike79's picture
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Joined: Aug 24 2008
Posts: 2040
Physical Books - the tried and true way

Informative article here on this subject:

E-readers Won't Survive an Apocalypse - PolicyMic

 Unlike books, e-readers are not a durable technology for the ages. ... Digital media aren't so lucky, as the earth's magnetic field will slowly erase an unused hard disk ... in a readable and durable form that will survive the collapse of civilization. ...
cunegund's picture
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Joined: Dec 10 2011
Posts: 8
I have worked as a librarian

I have worked as a librarian for the past 8 years. I would take part in this project

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