The Impatient Book - Words Disappear If You Don't Read Them
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Aug 21, 2012

The Impatient Book - Words Disappear If You Don't Read Them

As a writer, there’s little I love more than sitting down to a good book. Usually I read a few pages to send me off to sleep at night, and if it’s a particularly long book finishing it can take an age – not that that’s necessarily a bad thing.
The new line of books produced by Latin American authors Eterna Cadencia though might put pressure on me, and anyone else who enjoys a similar practise, to get that book read faster - as the pages are printed with a special ink which fades over a period of two months when exposed to sun or air.
Why on earth..?
The theory behind disappearing books is that they should encourage more people to actually read the books that they buy on a whim.
Now, this isn’t so much to care for the readers, but rather to promote longer careers for writers who struggle to get their books read. The thought is that new authors can usually get their first book bought just by having an interesting title, cover and blurb, but actually converting these buyers into readers is another story. This means that whilst the first book will sell, the second will struggle because its prequel is sitting gathering dust on a shelf somewhere.
The theory is that the new style books will give people a little bit more of a push to get stuck in before the words are lost forever.
Will this work?
I have to say, I’m more than a little dubious about the idea. If I like a book then I’ll often read it more than once – but I’ll want a decent time gap between reads to allow me to forget parts of the story again first! If I wanted to do this with disappearing ink, I’d have to shell out for another copy of the book and find something to do with the empty sketchbook that the first one left behind – doesn’t sound like a tempting proposition.
Another question to ask is one to do with storage and distribution. Surely any books ordered online have to be sent in a protective packaging so as not to eat into the 2 month time frame, but what’s to stop people keeping the packet and popping the book back in after every read?
Similarly, there’d have to be some protective system in place in book shops, and I’m sure this could be just as easily cheated.
The biggest problem though is what all this amounts to. No-one wants to go through this much hassle just to read a book, and with disappearing ink I don’t think the problem would be getting readers to buy a second book, it’d be getting them to buy any at all.

Guest Author Bio: Rob writes for varifocal lenses online experts Direct Sight.