a thousand years

Brothers, nobody should say or think: “What is the sense of bothering with copying by haand when the art of printing has brought to light so many important books; a huge library can be acquired inexpensively.” …

All of you know the difference between a manuscript and a printed book. The word written on parchment will last a thousand years. The printed word is on paper. How long will it last? The most you can expect a book of paper to survive is two hundred years. Yet, there are many who think they can entrust their works to paper. Only time will tell.

Yes, many books are now available in print, but no matter how many books will be printed, there will always be some left unprinted and worth copying. No one will ever be able to locate and buy all printed books. Even if all works ever written would appear in print, the devoted scribe should not relax in his zeal. On the contrary, he will guarantee the permanence to useful printed books by copying them. His labor will render mediocre books better, worthless ones more valuable, and perishable ones more lasting. …

…he must not cease copying just because the art of printing has been invented.

Johannes Trithemius, In Praise of Scribes (De Laude Scriptorum). Ed., Klaus Arnold. Trans., Roland Behrendt. Lawrence, KS: Coronado Press, 1974. 63.