There is little doubt that the danger posed by unstable digital formats has been exagerated, especially in the popular mind. So too has the celebration of older physical forms been built upon a number of unexamined assumptions. Those of us working in the field of bibliography and book history are familiar with how frequently books disappear altogether. D. F. McKenzie points to just one of many cases in "Printing and Publishing 1557-1700: Constraints on the London Book Trades," published in *The Cambridge History of the Book in Britain, Vol. IV* (2003). He cites "Thomas Dyche's *Guide to the English tongue*, printed by Charles Ackers in thrity-three editions and some 275,000 copies between 1733 and 1749. Only five copies from those editions are known to be extant: a survival rate of one in 55,000" (p. 560).
Lest one dismiss this and other example as phenomena that occur only in past centuries, try to find a Seattle telephone book from the Reagan years.....
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