Time, book lists, paperbacks and e-readers

It’s usually at the beginning of summer that we get suggested reading lists. In the global village where it’s always summer somewhere, and technology is getting more possibilities into more hands, the focus on books is less seasonal. But always welcome.
The important thing is reading. I’ve been a stalwart ‘book in hand’ person, but I’m finally open to the idea of getting good writing into hands and minds through whatever medium people are most willing to access (to put it in a weirdly modernistic way).
This all comes up because in the same day this week, I noticed three different things that converged.
On the front page of the New York Times, this story about the decline of the paperback novel.

A comprehensive survey released last month by the Association of American Publishers and the Book Industry Study Group revealed that while the publishing industry had expanded over all, publishers’ mass-market paperback sales had fallen 14 percent since 2008.

“Five years ago, it was a robust market,” said David Gernert, a literary agent whose clients include John Grisham, a perennial best seller in mass market. “Now it’s on the wane, and e-books have bitten a big chunk out of it.”

Fading away is a format that was both inexpensive and widely accessible — thrillers and mysteries and romances by authors like James Patterson, Stephen King, Clive Cussler and Nora Roberts that were purchased not to be proudly displayed on a living room shelf (and never read), but to be addictively devoured by devoted readers…

Cost-conscious readers who used to wait for the heavily discounted paperback have now realized that the e-book edition, available on the first day the book is published, can be about the same price. For devoted readers of novels, people who sometimes voraciously consume several books in a single week, e-books are a natural fit.
So right after this, I noticed Ignatius Insight’s list of e-books. Happy to see the Josef Pieper titles. My favorite is Leisure, the Basis of Culture (but then, I haven’t read the others).
Then, a short time later, I noticed Time magazine published their ‘All-TIME Best Nonfiction Books’.  Some interesting titles there (Studs Terkel’s Working seems appropriate for Labor Day weekend).
Storytelling is a great art. No matter how that’s passed on, it’s only important that it is.
Read any good books lately?


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