Paper, Pixels and the Lasting Impression of Books
An intimate narrative exploring the past, present, and future of books
Four seismic shifts have rocked human communication: the invention of writing, the alphabet, mechanical type and the printing press, and digitization. Poised over this fourth transition, e-reader in one hand, perfect-bound book in the other, Merilyn Simonds — author, literary maven, and early adopter — asks herself: what is lost and what is gained as paper turns to pixel?
Gutenberg’s Fingerprint trolls the past, present, and evolving future of the book in search of an answer. Part memoir and part philosophical and historical exploration, the book finds its muse in Hugh Barclay, who produces gorgeous books on a hand-operated antique letterpress. As Simonds works alongside this born-again Gutenberg, and with her son to develop a digital edition of the same book, her assumptions about reading, writing, the nature of creativity, and the value of imperfection are toppled.
Gutenberg’s Fingerprint is a timely and fascinating book that explores the myths, inventions, and consequences of the digital shift and how we read today.
Merilyn Simonds is the author of 16 books, including The Holding, a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice; The Convict Lover, finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award; and most recently The Paradise Project, flash-fiction stories hand-printed on a hand-operated, antique press. She is founding artistic director of Kingston WritersFest and a past chair of the Writers’ Union of Canada. She teaches creative writing and mentors emerging writers around the world. She lives in Kingston, Ontario.