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To Print or Not to Print

Someday the grid might go down and if so, our way of life will drastically change. All of those ebooks and websites that we use for reference will be gone. Sure you can limp along on a mobile device or laptop by using a generator or solar powered recharging, but sooner or later electronics will fail. The decision needs to be “To Print or Not to Print?”.

To Print or Not to Print


The ancients preserved wisdom and knowledge by chiseling it into stone or painting it inside caves, but modern man isn’t much for chiseling. What is the answer?

EBooks are awesome, and you can store a slew of them on a single tablet, ipad or kindle, but what if the grid goes down?

The simple answer to this is that you need to purchase real physical books that you’ll need on various skills and subjects that you think will be vital after a societal collapse. No one can afford to purchase a trillion books though, nor can you afford to print out every eBook or website that has the info you need.

Printer ink, in most cases, is more expensive than gold. Keeping this in mind,  assemble snippets of articles and procedures into short documents that you can print. There will be posts on web sites that you will print in full, and even pages or chapters from eBooks.

Choose wisely. It may not be behoove you to print out an entire eBook, when you can buy that book on Amazon.com for $5-20. Printing an entire book may take more than a single ink cartridge, which may end up costing you a lot more than $20.

If you intend to create a preparedness or survival binder, the best bang for your buck may be to invest in a Laser Printer. Laser Printers are work horses, designed for large office environments, and can print thousands upon thousands of pages with a single cartridge. We have an HP Laser Jet Printer in my home office. I use it daily and have only changed the cartridge 1 time. I bought this printer very very used and that cartridge I replaced was already 4 years old and from a large office!

Print out articles or snippets or articles, that you feel are important or would be helpful in an emergency, then use the 3 hole punch on them and stick them in your preparedness 3 ring binder. You can start out simple, but once that binder starts filling up, you’ll want to start investigating 3 ring binder accessories (dividers, tabs, etc), to help you organize your information for ease of retrieval.

Print when it makes sense, but don’t print out an entire 300 page book, when you could just buy it!

To Print or Not to Print. You make the decision that’s right for you!

To keep that eBook library accessible, there are some alternatives covered in the Post: Reading eBooks when the Grid is Down.


  1. Great stuff. I recently hit on your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my incipient comment. I don’t know what to disclos eexcept that I have enjoyed reading. I will keep visiting this blog each day.

  2. the way you connect with your readers through your posts is amazing, be it a video,image or a post, you seem to exactly know what fits in the criteria. beleive me i read 10’s of blogs every week, but your posts are quite engrossing than the rest. I just hope you continue writing and updating this blog!

  3. This is something I have thought about a great deal. This is why I have been practicing my skills so will not need to reference a book or printed document when SHTF. I do recommend the more advanced things like medical knowledge be printed but basic survival skills should be learned.

  4. Here’s a tip for you. Buy a used laser printer. The toner on laser printers doesn’t get old, dry up, usually prints over 15,000 pages. You can get a cartridge for $30-50 online. I haven’t had to replace the cartridge in over 2 years and that’s with printing books, webpages and documents over that time. Any Prepper that has an inkjet printer is just wasting their money on it over the time they use it.

  5. You say to use a laser printer but the better option may be to get a used impact printer like a lot of shops/stores still use. 2 cloth ribbons and a bottle of ink and your good for a long time. Print everything you need onto some fanfold paper so its one neat package, seal extra copies in plastic with your back up supplies.

  6. Impact printers wouldn’t be good for any detailed pictures like gun modifications, plant identifications, maps etc. and is basically obsolete. Then, there’s both the noise and time involved in printing out anything over 10 pages. The ribbon jams alot. Xerox paper is easier to get everywhere, I’ll take the laser, it keeps well, does fast, quiet prints, toner is dry, so don’t need to seal the toner up, unless you want to.

  7. Was/am a web programmer so know the grid will go down in times of trouble. Instead of printing information articles to paper find a print to PDF program, print anything you see of value. Also download any e-books that interest you. Many for free on Amazon and all for free on guttenberg.org Be sure to have a USB backup of those files on your computer. All documents then can be accessed by laptop or pad when necessary.

  8. Here’s a bizarre idea – if you come across something short, say a recipe for laundry soap, get a pen, a piece of paper, and WRITE IT DOWN! I know, I know, just one step up from the cave wall but hey, it works. Yes, I print a lot of things but before I spend money on a fancy printer that could be spent on preps I will write somethings down. (I’m betting there’s a significant age difference between me & the rest of you. Heehee)


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