Originally Posted by BushyTheBeaver
So that's interesting. Assuming you're just not an out of touch old fart it underscores how the term "writer" (and the criteria by how one is judged) can vary widely by industy. Since you mentioned advertising and "bringing his book" I'm guessing you used "writer" to mean an ad copywriter (of which I confess I know nothing more than what I've gleaned watching Mad Men and Bewitched. In that context I can see bringing hard copy of one's portfolio to an interview making sense (although I still can't figure why you wanted extra copies of his resume...something to put your drink on?).
In my work life--sw development--"writer" means tech writer. For a tech writer the emphasis (beyond writing ability and technical aptitude, which is assumed) is familiarity with the virtual world. Among other things that means (as Quantum wrote) that the individual has an online presence where his portfolio is available. If a tech writer showed up to an interview with stacks of paper and tried to foist copy of his writing samples on me it would count against him in a big way--the equivalent of walking into Best Buy and saying you want to purchase a gramaphone.
I'll repeat myself. Failing to bring at least a single copy (if not multiple copies) of your resume to an interview is major fail. Google "what to bring to an interview" and tell me if it isn't on every single list in the top ten search results. You never know how many people are going to be interviewing you -- if the interview goes better than expected and the interviewer wants you to meet his/her superior right then and there, failing to have a clean copy of your resume handy to give him/her reflects poorly on you and your ability to be prepared. If your fallback is "I emailed my resume, it's your fault your company didn't print enough copies," I hope that warms your heart as you hit the pavement as a still-unemployed torch carrier for the new way of the world.
As for having one's "book," go back and read my post in which I said it would be great if he had one online, like many or even most copywriters do today. He had nothing in print nor online, and thus was wasting my time. In my field (marketing/advertising) a copywriting candidate wouldn't bring "stacks of paper" as one might in your pocket-protector/taped eyeglasses world -- in fact some of the best sample books I've seen have been on the candidate's iPad. By the same token, a portfolio with printed pieces often works better for showing complex printed pieces in which reading all the copy online, in context, would be difficult.