Who doesn’t love an engaging piece of writing? Who doesn’t think twice before putting down a glossy and intriguing front cover with an interesting synopsis? How many times has a book lover debated on buying a book from the airport or the railway station? Only to give into the temptation!
The answer to all these questions is a superlative ‘Yes’!
Everyone obsesses over some book or the other resulting in re-reads. An alluring cover always tempts everybody to buy a good looking book. Perpetually, all have succumbed to the urge, in splurging at an over the counter book. Travelling provides the greatest boost to the sale of Books. Travellers prefer handy, short and interesting read while they tour in different modes of transport.
A History of Paperbacks
Invariably the light weighted Paperbacks rule the choice of book buyers! Paperbacks are generally economically more viable and are easy to carry manuscripts. They do not take too much space in a travelling bag, nor do they pile on the weight of luggage considerably. They are light, inexpensive, and accessible. To top of it all, they serve as a valuable gift for every book lover. So often, a book lover ends up finding excuses for an impulsive splurge at a bookshop. However with little or no regret!
Paperbacks came into existence in the 19th Century. They developed with the improvement in printing methods (like the steam-powered paper printing press and pulp mills). The strategic book distribution processes also led to the popularity of Paperbacks. At one stage the name ‘Yellowbooks’ defined softcover books . They came into existence with a strategy of mass production with publishers like Routledge & Sons, that was founded and prospered between 1836 -1898. Ward and Locke Publications in 1854 were the other publishers earning fame with Paperbacks. Both the publishing houses supplied books through W. H Smiths who monopolised the bookstores in railway stations in the United Kingdom. One can handily find the A W.H Smith bookstore in many of the railway stations of Commonwealth countries even today. Publication houses like the German ‘Tauchnitz’ published famous British and American works by different authors. ‘Reclam’ published the works of Shakespeare from October 1857 to November 1967.
Penguin Publications revolutionised Paperbacks and became a huge success in 1935. They incorporated the pioneering techniques in publishing introduced by the German publication house-Albatross Books. As this ill-fated publishing house vanquished due to the Second World War, without any immediate competition, Penguin Publications flourished. Penguin published ‘Ariel’ by the author André Maurois- its first Paperback in 1935 and have never looked back since. Penguin Publications integrated the ‘Color Coding’ technique of Albatross Publications leveraging their appeal in book publications. In USA Robert de Graf and Simon & Schuster created the ‘Pocket Book’ in an alignment of the Paperbacks.
The availability of finding latest books in the kiosks, over the counter shops and a grandmother’s trunk, always sounds like an incredible surprise! Why not surprise our loved ones with a Paperback someday? Coz reading a book does not demand an occasion or a specific emotion. All it needs is some spare time and a cuppa.