There are travel books – and then there are books that travel. I’ll be sad if paperbacks go the way of the dinosaurs. There are so many wonderful reads I’ve stumbled across only because somebody left the paperback somewhere.
Make no mistake, I love my e-books…but I doubt anyone will ever toss their reader down somewhere that I’ll stumble across it and say: hmm….I wonder what these stories are all about?
…if you’re feeling that sort of urge, let me know in advance. I’ll travel for good words.
Recently I stopped at a rummage sale and discovered boxes and bags of old paperbacks. Old enough that they smelled musty and were moisture-damaged, covered with age-spots made of mold. I love that smell. I know, I know…something parasitic and gnarly will grow out my nose someday.
Most of them were from the 60s and 70s, but a few really nifty volumes (in deplorable condition) bore the unmistakable covers of 50s schlock. Over the years I’ve read prodigious numbers of paperbacks purchased under similar circumstances – some of them in such poor condition that you had to infer part of the story because the pages were melted together. One was so awful I wore gloves to turn the pages, but it was worth it.
I stood there in the gravel parking lot and looked at the hundreds of books and wondered – fifty years from now, will anyone be finding OUR books in such places?
For most us, probably not, and that makes me sad because some of the stories I’ve rooted out of obscurity I’d never have found in a bookstore.
Maybe something similar will happen with digital storage. I know there are tons of file-sharing sites, and wonderful repositories like Project Gutenberg, but you might want to think about printing one hard copy of each novel you write.
Cast it out onto the unsuspecting world and may it live a long life and visit much of the globe. Let your words begin the rounds.
Start with me, please.
Tags: old paperbacks, eReaders, eBooks, pulp fiction, old books