Impractical Thoughts on Paying for Practical Typography

Unless you’ve been living in a secluded yurt for the past few days (although you’d probably still be checking your phone, don’t lie), I’m likely not the first person to tell you about Matthew Butterick’s Practical Typography, a new read in a long line of essential reads on typographic rules. Butterick’s writing is especially refreshing and particularly useful for explaining these sometimes confusing and cryptic details to the novice or the first-year design student.

The suggestions on how to pay for this book, however, are leaving me indecisive and guilt-ridden. Paying for the book by purchasing a font doesn’t seem like a bad idea—I wish I could buy everything in fonts! However, with my options ranging between $90–120 (for one weight of Concorse or Equity) and $5 (suggested cash payment), should my payment level be based on my intended use of the book? My bank statement? My Klout ranking?

Does the type community suffer from an embarrassment of [free] online riches (*cough* Typophile *cough*) so that paying for a good one seems impractical? While much effort in the industry is focused on educating users about investing in licenses to quality fonts, are we giving away too much of our expertise on the web? Who hasn’t benefitted from these resources?

So, here’s my experiment in reader-supported publishing: I’m going to let you, dear Typophile reader, decide what I should pay for Practical Typography.Feel free to take this survey, which will close on Friday, August 2, 2013.

What if fonts become a new digital currency, like bitcoins? Now that’s the most practical idea I’ve come up with today.

This post was originally published on a long, lost Typophile blog, but has been recently rescued from the deepest depths of the Internet Archive.

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