Here's the good news: we have this great technology to give you all sorts of knowledge, stories, and entertainment—text and pictures—in a really convenient and low-cost format. It's cheap enough you don't have to worry about using it in the bathtub or jacuzzi, yet you can easily find stuff you've previously read, or tag specific info to re-read later. It's light enough to carry on a trip, and it won't interfere with an airplane's electronics.
You've probably already guessed that I'm not talking about the latest advances in e-readers, but the old technology of the paperback book! I'm thinking that there will always be a place for the paperback, because it is the easiest thing to read in some situations.
(Some people disagree. Best-selling author G. P. Taylor said that e-books will bring about the death of paperbacks, but not of hardbacks. Maybe he's right!)
Happy birthday to paperback books!
How old is the paperback book? The first Penguin paperback books were published on this date in 1935, in England, starting what some call a paperback revolution. (These were not the first “softcover” books published, but they are considered the first paperback books “of substance” published. Before Penguin's paperbacks, softcover books were “poorly printed on cheap, yellowing paper with flimsy bindings,” and the printed content was second-rate at best.)
There were many who thought the paperback would kill the publishing industry—how could anyone make money when each book sold so cheap? These first books were sold for just sixpence each! But the new, inexpensive books were a sensation, and Penguin sold three million paperbacks in its first year, in a country of just 38 million people!
Also on this date: