Give me all your Paperbacks!

Hands in the air, the plasma rifle pointed at the couple who had just left the auction. They held a paperback centennial copy of John Wyndham’s “The Chrysalids” in a vacu-pack cover.  A prize the hoodlum desperately wanted.


Okay, maybe it won’t be that bad, but print media is definitely on the decline.  Fortune, wrote an article in April of 2016 that addressed how the New York Times was handling this very question.   With the decrease in advertising revenue, and print sales the Time is working on becoming more of an internationally focused digital publication. In the book publishing world independent publishes and even some of the big publishing houses move to the sale of online PDFs and to a more print-on-demand distribution model for any printed materials. The world is changing.

I don’t think print media will ever fully die out, but I can see it becoming a more privileged commodity as the world continues to develop.  Smaller homes as property prices continues to rise will mean less storage space and provide a practical reason for PDF files and online newspapers due to a lack of storage space (plus they are already cheaper). Environmental taxes that increase harvesting costs of raw materials could drive up printing costs. Finally a more sustainable mindset of the populace coupled with the convenience of the digital age will naturally begin to replace one technology with another.


Yup, print is changing and maybe within my lifetime I’ll curl up on a couch with a fine bottle of aged wine. I’ll have on some page-turning fingertip guards to protect the pages of an old and favourite book. I’ll read about Erik Von Darkmoor and his heroics during the Serpent War for the hundredth time. The smell of the aged paper reminding me of the first day I ventured beside him-all those years ago on a cold winters day in northern Alberta. Yeah, I would pay extra for that.

Derrick Ferry




3 thoughts on “Give me all your Paperbacks!

  1. I’ve all but given up on hardcopies for most of the reasons you’ve mentioned. Don’t get me wrong: for leisure, I’ll take pulp over PDF every time. It’s easy on the eyes, and – does this happen to anyone else? – I can remember almost exactly where my favorite passages sit on a page, even after one read. But its just not practical. There’s too much pressure to be mobile these days and paper is just another weight to shed. Having a bookshelf in the cloud is so much more convenient. And keyword searches? Forget about it! I can’t remember the last time I wrote a paper using an actual book as a source. But I don’t think hardcopies are going anywhere either, for the same reason books hung around after radio, and radio after TV. They may become specialty products, like vinyl, but they’ll always be with us.


  2. Fantastic article! As an avid reader I will vouch for the convince of online books and the satisfying feeling of having a 100+ books at my finger tips. BUT it really isn’t anything compared to buying that first Harry Potter novel and just pouring into the pages and proudly showing off your big “Chapter Book” in front of all your friends and then just revelling in the excitement of waiting for the next book in the series to be published. So while I support being able to carry a million books with me at all times, my most fond reading memories will be with my paper back Harry Potters.


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