In this computer age...it is so easy to just walk over to our computers to find the information we want on the internet and in our nicely organized digital files. This ease has led many to completely abandon having paper copies. They say..."Why have a paper copy that may just be misplaced...or that I have to file...when I can easily just have everything stored on the computer!?"
Anyone who has had a computer die...with no back up can answer that one! All of your precious documents can be lost in an instant. Months of geneology work...family records...irreplaceable photos...recipes...etc...can vanish in an instant.
Such experiences have driven the sales of ways to back up your files onto CD's...DVD's...flash drives...and to additional hard drives. I am all for having these records backed using these methods. It can save you a lot of heartache and time. In this vein...I have read where various preparedness authors recommend that you put onto a disc all of those documents that prove who you are...and other important documents onto a disc...and then putting it into your bug-out-bag in a durable water-proof container. The thought is that you can carry all "filing cabinet" of documents on your back...without the accompanying weight! Sounds like a good idea to me. Still..I think that there are certain things that you should really have backed up onto a good ole' fashioned piece of paper!
You see...all of that information has to be retrieved from a working computer. Circumstances one day could be there there may be no working computers available. An EMP blast could fry all of the computers in your region. OR...there could be a long term disruption in the electrical grid. This could happen for a variety of reasons that could make it unsafe for workers to fix it...or not possible without substantial infrastructure being rebuilt. For example...a plague where no one wants to go to work for fear of exposure...a war on our own land...or a famine coupled with riots and anarchy to name a few.
If for one reason or another you are stuck in your home for weeks on end with no working computer...you may wish that you had printed out all of those food storage recipes that are only to be found on your computer!
Really...we should have paper copies of the things that we can't...or don't want to try to remember as a reference...or that are meaningful to us for one reason or another.
Investing in a self reliance/survival library is also a worthwhile endeavor. Books on homesteading...gardening...nuclear war survival...medical books...wild food identification...religion...constitutional government (hey...you might have to put it back together again!) and so on... All the books that you would need to be an island to yourself. Even a few fiction books that take you away to a happy place might be a good idea for your sanity. I have picked up many wonderful books from Amazon for a fraction of their cover price and try to continue to add books as my budget allows.
While buying digital copies of books to read on your Kindle...or other electronic contraption may be convenient...and hip nowadays...it may not be available to you during an emergency. So I would not recommend it for anything other than reading your copy of "Twilight" or whatever it is you read for fun.
So...make your hard copies...or buy them as books...and put them where you will know you can get them when you need them!