That New Fangled Book Format


by Raymond M. Coulombe

Remember when books went to that new fangled format? No, not e-books. I’m talking about paperback books. It was a big deal. It democratized reading. Hardcover books are expensive. Paperbacks, printed on cheap, high acid paper were in the price range of the average working person.

Not only where they cheap, they could be trashy too. What I mean is that a story didn’t have to be high literature to get published. Genres like Science Fiction became popular in soft cover before any were published in hardback.

Okay, nobody alive was around when paperbacks were first introduced in the early 19th centry. However, there are still those who may remember when they really took off in the US back in the 1930s. Paper shortages during WWII killed paperbacks for a while. They roared back into popularity after the war and have been with us ever since.

There are many famous witers today who made their name while writing for paperbacks. Most of them probably would not have gotten their chance if hardcover books were the only option. Today the cheap option is e-books. Whole leagues of authors are publishing directly to e-book. That excites me. Sure, there’s a lot of crap being published, but that’s the formate where people can take chances. I’m betting that some truly great writers will be discovered thanks to the economy of e-books. They are the paperbacks of our time.

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