Tuesday, August 6, 2013

"Dog-eared, spines broken..."

"This fantasy novel [A Spell for Chameleon] by Piers Anthony looked like a book for grown-ups: It was a mass-market paperback. Even if you don’t know the terminology, you know what a mass-market paperback is. It’s a pocket book, a pulp novel, a spinner-rack book. It’s the cheapest, smallest paperback format—the book designed for impulse purchase in the airport or drugstore. As a child, I read plenty of larger-format, or trade paperbacks—most of the middle-grade or young-adult novels I bought from Waldenbooks with my allowance money were printed at that size. And everything I took out from the library was a hardcover.
     But when I saw adults reading books—at Bradford Beach on Lake Michigan, on the No. 15 bus we rode to my dad’s office downtown—they were mass-markets. Dog-eared, spines broken, they fit in a purse or a pocket, and fit into the busy lives and schedules of the grown-ups in my world. (In their portability and impulse-buy cheapness, they were the e-books of their day.)"
— Dan Kois, Slate
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