Let's get prepared for extraordinary situations together! - John (Geek Prepper)
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To Print or Not to Print

to print or not to printSomeday 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?

My answer to this is to purchase books I need on various skills and subjects that I think will be vital after a societal collapse. I can’t afford to purchase a trillion books though, nor can I afford to print out every ebook or website that has the info I need.

Printer ink, in most cases, is more expensive than gold. Keeping this in mind, I think it’s important to assemble snippets of articles and procedures into short documents that I can print. There will be sites and ebooks that I will print in full, but I will choose wisely, after all I can buy a book on Amazon.com for $5-20 but an ink cartridge will cost me more than $20.

The best bang for your buck is to invest in a Laser PrinterLaser Printers are work horses designed for large office environments and can print thousands upon thousands of pages with a single cartridge. I use a HP Laser Jet Printer in my home office. I use it daily and have only changed the cartridge 1 time. I bought it very very used and that was the cartridge I replaced (it was 4 years old and from a large office).

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

We do cover some alternatives in our Post: Reading eBooks when the Grid is Down.

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10 comments to To Print or Not to Print

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  • Roy

    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.

  • Adrian

    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.

  • nic

    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.

  • Adrian

    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.

  • mensa141

    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.

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