I only watch a few of the videos that the Quotulator likes to put up at his excellent blog, but I just watched this one and enjoyed it greatly:

What I find so entertaining about this chunk of history is how this new way of selling and consuming books oscillated wildly between Very Low Art (“Penny Dreadfuls”) and Very High Art (classic (hence out of copyright) novels, Shakespeare, etc.). Low Art created the format. High Art discovered that it could use the format.

My Dad collected Penguins before and after WW2, and probably also during. I still have some of those. None of them were Penny Dreadfuls.

Also interesting was the claim that paperbacks are now thriving, better than ebooks are. My suspicion about that one: give it time.

2 thoughts on “Paperbacks”

  1. I read far too many words on the computer screen to want to do my entertainment reading in the same way. I have a small collection of ebooks on my phone for those awful moments when I find myself without a real book to read, but it’s not as relaxing in my experience.

  2. I find e-books to be an easier reading experience given that I can adjust the brightness and text size to whatever I want, which is helpful given that my eyes are not what they once were. Also, not having to carry the book with me and having it on my phone and iPad automatically makes it easier to read a bit of something on the fly. This is particularly true when I travel, as I like to travel very light indeed. (At least, I did when it was possible to travel).

    I find now that when I buy actual physical books, these days I tend to buy hardbacks and high quality trade paperbacks rather than mass market paperbacks. If I am buying a book as a physical object I want to buy a nice physical object rather than just the words. My younger self would hold my present self in contempt for doing this, but whatever.

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