27 September 2012

Does Anyone Else See the Problem Here?

We all know that e-books are outselling hard copies.  We all know that fewer and fewer people are actually reading: e-books or otherwise.  But, this news story has me absolutely flabbergasted.

BBC News - Disappearing ink gives books in Argentina read by date
Disappearing ink gives books in Argentina read by date 25 September 2012 Last updated at 16:18 GMT Help A publishing company in Argentina has begun printing books with ink that fades away after just two months. Publishers hope readers will be inspired to finish off their books quickly, rather than leaving them languishing on shelves forever. Tom Santorelli reports.

The first problem I see is that if you spend anywhere from $15 to $45 on a book, you aren't going to want the ink to disappear.  What if you don't have time to read the whole thing in that two months?  You just lost your investment, or you have a very expensive journal with the cover or an unfinished book.

Another problem has to do with re-reading.  A person obviously can't re-read a book if the ink has vanished.  While it may inspire a sprint read to finish it in those two months, what happens if it is a book you want to return to, to slowly chew on and think about.  That is not an option with this kind of book, evidently.

While there are probably many problems with this idea, one that will hit the sellers of books the hardest is this: people will not buy as many books.  I'll rephrase that.  Book sells will decline rapidly.  They will fall drastically because people will be less motivated to buy several books at once; instead, they will purchase a book at a time.  AND, if they fail to finish one of these two-month books, they will be even less motivated to buy another.  They will begin to see that they are wasting not only their time, but their money.

I for one would have shelves of worthless, unreadable books.  I read everyday, but I also have a rather large and ever growing to-be-read collection, and more importantly, a to-read-again collection.  If the ink is going to vanish, I may as well not plan my reading; maybe I'll stop reading and start watching TV.  Yeah, that's gonna happen.

I'm not saying boycott these books, but I am suggesting that you think about the repercussions and the consequences of buying them.

Think About It

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